Monday, July 15, 2013
HR Derby Memories
I’ve always loved the HR Derby. Some years it’s really entertaining. Some years it blows. Some years the favorite wins, some years it’s the guy you’d least expect.
However, it’s a staple for All-Star festivities, and it’s fun to see the players all sitting in foul territory watching the event. Many times, they have their kids, and they really do seem to enjoy the light-hearted times that come with watching.
I had the fortune of attending the 2008 HR Derby at Yankee Stadium. You know, the Josh Hamilton year. It was unreal watching the show he put on. I was in the first deck in right field, so none of Hamilton’s shots came my way. Not many did. Maybe Braun or Longoria hit one out that way, but I don’t remember much other than Hamilton’s show and Morneau “winning” the derby.
My second-favorite HR Derby memory was from 1997 in Cleveland. Tino Martinez, in the middle of his career-high 44-HR season, edged Larry Walker in the Finals. It was a cool moment for me, seeing my favorite player win. This was before the days of worrying if participating was going to screw up player’s swing for the rest of the year. Thanks, Bobby Abreu.
Two other Yanks have won the Derby as well: Jason Giambi in 2002 and Robinson Cano in 2011. Cano then put up a 0 in Kansas City was booed relentlessly by their fans for not picking Billy freakin’ Butler. I would have picked Butler…if it were a Doubles Derby. Anyhow, being the good sport that he is, Cano is back at it again this year, and hopefully will knock a few balls out of the park. I hope at least someone hits a HR at Citi Field…the Derby may end up just being who can come closest to hitting a HR in that massive park.