Tag:Home Run Derby
Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 12:32 pm
 

D-Backs fans boo Brewers during Derby



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Prince FielderPHOENIX -- Prince Fielder's son was ready to throw down -- he wanted a fight.

"I had to tell them to calm down, it was nothing personal" Fielder joked afterwards. The boos didn't get to him -- but they did get to his son. And his teammate, Rickie Weeks.

As soon as Weeks was introduced, the boos started for the Brewer who was picked by Fielder to represent the National League. Instead, the crowd at Arizona's Chase Field made it perfectly clear who they had hoped to see in Monday's Home Run Derby.

"We want Upton," half the crowd chanted.

The other half of the crowd chanted, "Jus-tin, Up-ton," making it perfectly clear the hometown fans wanted to see their All-Star representative, Justin Upton, in the Home Run Derby.

Weeks responded with just two home runs and was eliminated after the first round. But he noted he knew why the fans booed him, but couldn't understand them actually doing it.

"I could care less, but of course you don't want anyone booing you at the All-Star Game," Weeks said. 

Upton, for the record, supported Weeks, tweeting during the derby:

Justin Upton 

The crowd reserved the loudest boos for Fielder, who was the team captain and selected Weeks, along with the Cardinals' Matt Holliday and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp. Fielder's three selections went into the game with a combined 53 home runs, but managed just 10 combined in the first round (not counting Holliday's two in a swing-off loss to Fielder and David Ortiz).

Fielder won some of the fans over when he hit five homers in five swings during the swing-off round, but then managed just four in the second round to finish the day for the National League.

Despite the loss, Fielder said he wouldn't have done anything different in picking his squad: "No, it was cool. I picked the guys I wanted to pick," Fielder said. "If they have a problem, tell them another person should have been captain."

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:13 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Cano makes Home Run Derby win a family affair

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- Once again, it all came down to the Yankees and Red Sox. This time the Yankees -- or more specifically, Robinson Cano -- won.

Cano hit 12 home runs in the final round to edge out Boston's Adrian Gonzalez, who had just tied the record for a final round with 11. What made it more special was that Cano's father, Jose, was throwing to him. Jose Cano, a former pitcher for the Astros, said he usually throws batting practice to his son in the offseason, so he felt good about Monday's affair.



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Posted on: July 11, 2011 11:43 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 12:30 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Home Run Derby edition



By Matt Snyder


PHOENIX - Hey, we're here ... so why not? Just remember, this was an event meant for fun. Any critiques are all in good fun, and we're not taking anything away from any of the players involved.

The Cano Family. Robinson Cano stole the show like one player so often does in the Derby. Isn't it amazing how every year there seems to be one player who has a huge run, even if he doesn't win? For example, Josh Hamilton's splurge in Yankee Stadium was the memory, but Justin Morneau won. This time around, Cano was the one putting on a show with the moonshots, and he hit the most. He ended up winning with 32 home runs and 30 "outs" (non-homers, though he didn't even need all 30). As a bonus, his father -- former major-league pitcher Jose Cano -- was doing the pitching. Great story and great night for the Canos.

Adrian Gonzalez. Funny thing was, as good as Cano was, Gonzalez only hit one less homer on the night. Cano's felt more spectacular and more often wowed the crowd, but Gonzalez was nearly as good. And give the duo props for both hitting more home runs than not (Gonzalez had 31 homers against 30 "outs"). That's pretty tough to do.

Prince Fielder. He was only awesome in one stretch, but it was pretty solid. In the tiebreaker round -- Matt Holliday, Prince Fielder and David Ortiz battled for two spots in Round 2 -- each hitter was granted five swings. Fielder took full advantage, hitting a home run on all five cuts.



Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. Hitting four home runs in 14 swings isn't too shabby, but we were expecting the world of Joey Bats. And he started off with two home runs before making an out. Then he just fizzled. It was disappointing, that's all. But he's still one of the biggest stars here, and that is well-deserved.

Fielder picking Rickie Weeks over Justin Upton. And we've found a flaw in Year 1 of the new system. This season, captains were named to each the NL and AL and were able to pick their three "teammates." Fielder selected his real-life teammate, Weeks, instead of the home fan favorite, Justin Upton. Sorry, the All-Star Game is about the fans. The home fans wanted to see Upton, so he should have been selected. It's not like we're asking for a huge concession; Upton only has two fewer regular-season homers than Weeks.

Fans booing. Regardless of what I said above, what's done is done by the time the Derby starts. The fans relentlessly booed Matt Kemp, Weeks, Fielder and even David Ortiz. Then, in a commercial break, the fans cheered loudly for dogs catching frisbees. I thought they came to enjoy the home run show? Give me Prince Fielder hitting a baseball 450 feet, but maybe that's just me. I like baseball. Why were they booing Ortiz? Even if there was protest for Upton not being there, Ortiz is the AL captain. And why were they cheering Matt Holliday while booing the others? It was just weird.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 8:19 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 9:00 pm
 

Picking a better Derby field

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Prince Fielder and David Ortiz have picked their teams for next week's Home Run Derby, and while all the picks are good, I'd pick a different squad.

If I were in Fielder's or Ortiz's shoes, here's who I'd pick:

National League
Wily Mo Pena, Diamondbacks: Five of Wily Mo's eight hits have reached the seats. He's struck out 17 times and hasn't walked, but that's real baseball. This is the Home Run Derby -- few can hit them as far as Pena -- especially when they're all straight and all in the strike zone. You know who agrees with me? The American League captain. Ortiz was asked about adding Pena and told WEEI.com, "That's not good. We would lose right away."

Check out this homer at Comerica Park -- which is hardly a bandbox.


Mike Stanton, Marlins: Like Pena, Stanton is a big, big man. Twelve of Stanton's 14 home runs have traveled more than 400 feet. I don't care if he's not seeing the ball clearly, this is a batting practice show and few can put on a show like Stanton.

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: This is the one that Fielder and I agree on, and not just because Upton has the homefield advantage (which is a real advantage in this case). Upton has 13 home runs this season and according to HitTrackerOnline.com, only Fielder has hit a ball further than Upton's 478-foot bomb off of Chris Carpenter on April 12.


American League
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: The guy has 81 homers since 2010 began, you'd be a fool not to pick him. It's no surprise he was the first guy Ortiz called. He'd be my first call, too.

Josh Hamilton, Rangers: His 28-homer first-round performance at the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium is probably the most memorable Derby of all time. Hamilton said would have listened had Ortiz called him. He'd be my second call after Bautista.

Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: And here's my wild card. Suzuki has just one homer this season and has averaged less than 10 a year in his career, but anyone who has watched Suzuki in batting practice knows in that setting he can put the ball into the seats at will. In the Derby, you not only want the big boppers, but also the guys who can put together a streak of homers. Suzuki can do just about anything he wants with a bat, plus it'd be fun to watch the tiny Suzuki with all the other hulking players I've picked.

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: July 4, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Pepper: Head indoors during All-Star Weekend



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

It's not that I'm not looking forward to heading to Phoenix on Saturday; it's just that, well, it's going to be really, really hot and that doesn't sound like fun.

The average temperature in Phoenix on July 12? 107. I don't care how dry that heat is, it's still hot.

Phoenix has wanted to host an All-Star Game for years, but with the All-Star Game comes more than just nine innings of baseball. There's the Futures Game, a celebrity softball game, the Home Run Derby, FanFest and an influx of people, all walking around the area around the ballpark. Anyone outside is going to be hot.

The Diamondbacks are planning as many things indoors as they can, according to this Arizona Republic article. The team may open the roof for a possible flyover during the national anthem, but that would take place during the hottest part of the day.

Also, the usual parade will be about two blocks and players have been told not to wear suits and ties.

Team president Derrick Hall tells the newspaper, "I think everyone is going to be shocked how comfortable it's going to be."

I hope so. Then I can get ready for Kansas City next July -- and that could be even worse, just ask Ichiro (language NSFW).

CLOSER QUESTION: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stood behind closer Matt Capps after pulling him Sunday, but Capps may not be the closer for long. He has blown six saves in 19 chances, and Joe Nathan is back and healthy. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

FREAK OR FISH?: Marlins manager Jack McKeon questioned Bruce Bochy's selection of Tim Lincecum for the All-Star team. "He's a good pitcher, don't get me wrong," McKeon told reporters, including Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "But do we reward for what you're doing now or do we reward for what you've done in the past."

DERBY LOBBYING: Not only are two captains picking the sides for this year's Home Run Derby, they can pick players who aren't in the All-Star Game to participate. Here's two non-All-Stars I'd love to see. Bob Young of the Arizona Republic suggests Ichiro Suzuki, which may sound odd, but Suzuki's batting practice displays are the stuff of legend, and what is the Derby but glorified batting practice? I'd give Suzuki a better shot than most at winning the deal. While Suzuki doesn't look like a guy who would be a Home Run Derby favorite, the Marlins' Mike Stanton does. Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez wants to see his teammate in the derby, and so do I. [Palm Beach Post]

NO REHAB FOR PUJOLS: Albert Pujols "doesn't need" a rehab assignment before he returns to the Cardinals, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday.

RECORD DEAL: The Rangers signed Dominican outfielder Nomar Mazara with what is believed to be a record $5 million signing bonus. The 6-foot-3, 16-year-old left-handed outfielder is said to have the most raw power in Latin America. [Baseball America]

SELLOUT RECORD: Saturday the Dayton Dragons, the Reds' Class A team in the Midwest League, recorded their 814th sellout in a row, tying the all-time professional sports record set by the Portland Trail Blazers. The team expects to break the record July 9.

While the Dayton Daily News has the news, the New York Times takes a look at just why the Dragons have been so successful.

HISTORICALLY BAD: As bad as the Padres' offense has been this season, it's not as bad as the Mariners' last season -- so there's that. Otherwise, the outlook is bleak for San DIego bats. [North County Times]

STEREOTYPES DISPUTED: Former Cubs and current White Sox TV analyst Steve Stone says the stereotypes of Cubs fans and White Sox aren't exactly true. Cubs fans are usually believed to be more interested in being at Wrigley Field than what's going on at Wrigley Field. The stereotype of White Sox fans is best displayed by the buffoons who get liquored up and run on the field to attack either the umpire or the opposing team's first base coach. [Chicago Tribune]

VLAD'S BATS HEATING UP: Vladimir Guerrero isn't producing at the plate, but his bats are. Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is crushing with Guerrero's bats, hitting .436 in his last 21 games since switching to Guerrero's heavier bats. [Baltimore Sun]

PADRES DRAFT COULD BE GREAT: Well, the Padres' draft could be a great one if the team spends the money to sign the players it drafted. The Royals stopped worrying about "signability," and David Glass started paying the going rate for drafted players. That's how the Royals built the best farm system in the majors. If the Padres follow suit, it could certainly pay off in the end. [InsideThePadres]

HOSMER USED TO OVERCOMING: Check out this fantastic feature by my friend Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star on Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and his family. Hosmer's dad was a firefighter and his mother a nurse who immigrated from Cuba.

RACIAL BIAS BY UMPS: A study recently published in the American Economic Review shows a small difference in called strikes when the umpire and the pitcher are the same race. But the bias disappeared in games with computer monitoring, which is now standard across MLB. (H/T to BaseballMusings.com

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 7:04 pm
 

Home Run Derby field rounding out

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David OrtizDavid Ortiz has a posse.

In the new setup for the Home Run Derby, each team has a captain that picks his team for the competition. Sunday the American League captain said he'd started rounding up his crew.

Ortiz has already gotten commitments from teammate Adrian Gonzalez and the majors' leading home-run hitter, Jose Bautista. Ortiz told reporters he'd wanted the Yankees' Mark Teixeira, but Teixeira was left off the All-Star roster. Teixeira, though, told reporters after Sunday's game that he wasn't interested in participating in the Home Run Derby (MLB.com's Bryan Hoch on Twitter). Ortiz said he's still waiting to hear from Teixeira whether or not he'd still participate. The next two names on his list are the Yankees' Robinson Cano and the Rangers' Josh Hamilton.

"I've talked to Cano, and he told me he would do it," Ortiz told reporters, including Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. "I haven't talked to Hamilton. I haven't talked to him, but that guy got me tired hitting bombs [at Yankee Stadium in 2008], and if he wanted to do it, I might say, 'OK, hit for me.'"

Hamilton had previously said he doesn't want to participate in the derby, but on Sunday he told the Associated Press he'd consider it if Ortiz asked. 

Prince Fielder said he wants the Dodgers' Matt Kemp on his side. Fielder told MLB.com that he hadn't talked to Kemp, but has communicated with him through former Brewer and current Dodger outfielder Tony Gwynn.

Fielder's teammate, Ryan Braun, said he wouldn't participate, while Rickie Weeks is on Fielder's short list. Weeks said he hasn't been asked, but would participate if Fielder picks him.

Cardinals outfielders Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday expressed interest in participating, as well.

"It would be hard to turn down an invitation," Berkman told MLB.com. "That would be tough to say no."

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 12:54 am
 

No Home Run Derby for Hamilton

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh HamiltonJosh Hamilton is currently on pace to start for the American League in the All-Star Game, but he will not be participating in the Home Run Derby, he said Friday.

"I already said to them, I'm not doing it," Hamilton said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Let [Jose] Bautista hit 29, and maybe I'll come back and do it."

Hamilton hasn't participated in the Home Run Derby since hitting 28 homers in the first round of the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Despite Hamilton's record first-round, Justin Morneau won the event in 2008.

Hamilton missed a month of the season with a shoulder injury and has hit just four home runs, but three of them have come since June 3.

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