Well, it's that time of year again, time for MLB All Star Weekend. This year, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, (do I really need to say that each time?) play host.
Following Josh Hamilton's monster performance two years ago (I bet you already forgot that Justin Morneau actually won that Derby), and Prince Fielder's upset of Albert Pujols and St. Louis native Ryan Howard last year on the footsteps of the Gateway Arch, what could be expected for the most installment of the contest?
All the excitement of the Home Run Derby and more are coming up. And just in case you forgot from last time, here's how this will work: there will be a time-stamp, followed by what happened at that time (and if it really matters to you, this is EST). The Derby is minutes away from starting, and when it does that's when the fun begins.
Before it all gets underway, I would just like to point out that there has already been a John Kruk spotting. But, with that, here comes tons of "back, back, back, back, backs" from Chris Berman, an infatuation with the term "bat-off" by Joe Morgan, and tons of long balls.
7:56PM: In a commercial going over the past few Home Run Derbies, 2008 simply mentioned Hamilton's monster show. Poor Morneau.
7:59PM: Kruk picks Chris Young, because he's skinny. OK.
8:00PM: A live concert of Train, singing "Hey, Soul Sister." Sounding, a little off pitch, to put it nicely.
8:05PM: And there's Berman.
8:07PM: After the introductions, guess who got booed the most? David Ortiz and Nick Swisher. I guess the fans hate the rivalry, not the teams.
8:08PM: Morgan just picked Miguel Cabrera because of the introduction he got. Bobby Valentine picked "Jose Ortiz."
8:10PM: Bo Jackson is throwing out the first pitch. He proceeds to the mound, and asks "Where is the catcher?" The problem is, there was no catcher!
8:11PM: After struggling reciting the rules of the Derby last season, I noticed Berman is now holding a note card to help him.
8:15PM: Valentine just figured out that he got Ortiz's name wrong. But, Young will be first to bat. Remember, he's Kruk's pick because he's skinny.
8:18PM: The kids in the outfield are mauling each other over just catching a fly ball. Young then hits his first home run to left field.
8:20PM: Young pulls a Tiger Woods. After lining one for an out, he responds by yelling "Ahh, Chris!" Young finishes the first round with only one home run. At least he knows he did better than Brandon Inge did last season.
8:22PM: Vernon Wells steps up to the plate and gets two quick outs in three pitches.
8:23PM: Wells gets some aid from a fan as he snags the ball at the left field wall. Luckily, no home run replay in the Derby.
8:24PM: Wells blasts a second home run, with only two outs left. However, more notably, Berman just gave us our first "back, back, back, back."
8:25PM: Wells finishes with two home runs. I'm waiting for the perfect game in the home run derby.
8:31PM: Corey Hart gets two home runs in the first three pitches. However, the crowd seems upset that Torii Hunter wants Ortiz to win.
8:32PM: Hart hits three more shots to center field, and has five home runs with only one out. This could be a big round for him.
8:33PM: Bobby Valentine: "Wow, just missed it." Two seconds later: "Wow, he got it!"
8:34PM: Hart hits a 464 foot blast, and now both Berman and Valentine are trying to say they picked him. Valentine: "I picked him on Sportscenter!" Oh, but we all know you picked Jos--David Ortiz, Bobby.
8:37PM: Hart finishes with 13 home runs, including a monstrous final home run to the rocks in centerfield. Up next: Nick Swisher.
8:40PM: Interview with Alex Rodriguez as Swish steps up. At least Swisher and Robinson Cano are having a good time out there.
8:44PM: A-Rod giving a lot of Teixeira love, as swisher has four home runs, with only two outs left.
8:47PM: Swisher finishes with only four home runs, but he is sitting in second place half way through.
8:51PM: Holliday steps up, and after racking up two outs, Berman rewards us with a "back, back, back" on a home run.
8:53PM: Holliday is really struggling. One out left, with only one home run. ESPN killed the time by interviewing Pujols.
8:54PM: Holliday jacks four straight "gold ball" home runs. State Farm is getting nervous.
8:56PM: Trivia break during commercials. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only player to have won the HR Derby multiple times. He did it three times: 1994, 1998, and 1999.
9:00PM: Ortiz steps up to the plate, and Morgan cannot stop raving about Ortiz's shoes.
9:02PM: Big Papi off to a fast start, with three home runs and only two outs.
9:04PM: Berman really ragging on Valentine for saying Jose Ortiz. Berman: "There isn't anyone who would say no way Jose to that, Bobby!"
9:05PM: Morgan returns to the shoes. Come on.
9:08PM: Ortiz has Rafael Soriano bring him some Gatorade. Morgan goes back to talking about how his shoes give him presence on the plate.
9:09PM: Ortiz finishes up with eight home runs, which is good enough to advance him to the next round. Must have been the shoes.
9:10PM: Rojo Johnson , aka Will Ferrell is being interviewed now by the crew.
9:13PM: Hanley Ramirez is hitting absolute bombs! Five home runs, with only three outs! He's hitting them so fast, Berman can only get "back, ba-."
9:15PM: They actually asked Ferrell to announce a hit, unfortunately for him it was a bloop to second base.
9:17PM: Ramirez finishes a solid round, with nine extremely hard hit home runs.
9:22PM: How ESPN ever thinks they can finish this by 10PM is ridiculous. Why even lie like that? Cabrera is the final batter of the first round. He needs six to advance, or five for a swing off (formerly called "bat-off") with Holliday.
9:24PM: To quote Berman: "Could a triple cr--back, back, back, back, way gone!--own happen?"
9:26PM: Cabrera ties Holliday at five home runs, and then gets to six to advance. The second round will be Hart, Ramirez, Ortiz, and Cabrera.
9:30PM: Cabrera moves on to the semifinals with seven home runs. Pretty uneventful so far, and surprisingly quite a few empty seats at the stadium.
9:33PM: More commercial trivia! Ryne Sandburg is the only player to win the Home Run Derby in his home stadium. He did it with the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field in 1990.
9:35PM: Holliday hit a 497 foot home run, yet he's out after the first round. Ortiz will be the first to hit in the second round. Waiting for a reference to the shoes. C'mon Joe!
9:39PM: Papi is blasting one after the other. Eight home runs, with only two outs. 16 total!
9:41PM: Now they mention that Ortiz is Hunter's pick to win, and all of a sudden the crowd starts cheering.
9:44PM: Finally, Morgan mentions the shoes again! Now, Valentine, Morgan, and Howard begin to talk about the "best shoe." Meanwhile, Papi finishes with 21 home runs through two rounds.
9:46PM: Cabrera bats second, and hits a bomb to centerfield. Two home runs with one out.
9:49PM: Some of the mosh pits created by fans piling up to get a hit ball are pretty entertaining. There have to be some injuries tonight.
9:50PM: Is it bad when you see the fans yelling at the kids fielding the balls in the outfield?
9:52PM: Just noticed a back-up catcher was brought in. Cabrera finishes the second round with only 12 home runs though. Morgan says "he is worried about his guy," and yet fails to realize that Cabrera already did not advance since Papi and Hart are both ahead of him.
9:57PM: Morgan is now debating over whether Ramirez or Ortiz has better shoes. He goes with Papi. I guess after two hours, this is what happens.
10:00PM: Ramirez has three home runs this round so far, only 12 total. However, I notice ESPN's "Ball Track Technology" only lasted one year. I miss the ball being lit up bright green.
10:03PM: Ramirez has the line drive home run down. Now he has 17 total home runs.
10:05PM: Hanley has hit three straight home runs to get to 20, with only one out left. If he hits one more, he ties Ortiz!
10:06PM: Ramirez ties Ortiz, and needs one more to advance to the final round. This guarantees a "swing off," if Corey Hart can hit eight home runs. If he hits seven, there will be a three way swing off. If he hits six, Ortiz and Ramirez will advance.
10:09PM: Hart gets five quick outs without a home run. I think at this point the announcer's job is just to make excuses for the players.
10:11PM: Hart goose eggs the second round, and finishes with 13 home runs. The final round will be a battle between Ortiz and Ramirez.
10:18PM: Ortiz steps up for the final round and promptly blasts four home runs. While he's doing this, all Berman and Morgan can talk about is how many people wanted to release Ortiz before this season.
10:20PM: Ortiz is putting on a show. Eight home runs, and only two outs. This is a ridiculous showing for the veteran.
10:22PM: Papi's slowed down quite a bit. Four straight outs, but I think he's put up a difficult number for Hanley to beat.
10:23PM: Bounces back with a home run slicing past the foul pole. I'm sure Red Sox fans are drooling over this, if the form continues past the All Star Break.
10:25PM: Papi blasts a home run to the gap in right field. It looked like it hit one of the cars sitting back there. However, Ortiz finishes the final round with 11 home runs. Hanley Ramirez has a pretty big number to match, yet surprisingly Morgan did not attribute the strong round to the shoes!
10:31PM: Valentine says what a great start Ramirez had in the final round. He hit an out.
10:32PM: Ramirez is really struggling, just like Hart was. One home run, and four outs. Ortiz and Hunter are rooting him on, though Hunter is telling him he is choking.
10:33PM: After all the home runs hitting the rocks, Berman finally gives us our first "on the rocks" joke. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, back to the Derby.
10:37PM: Ramirez is down to his last out, with only five home runs. He grounds out the final pitch, and Ortiz is your 2010 Home Run Derby Champion!
So to sum up the night. Berman's lessened antics, Morgan's color commentary, and some powerful performances by Ortiz, Ramirez, and Hart.
ESPN managed to actually finish 30 minutes earlier than last year, but I don't know who they are kidding with a 10PM end time.
With no Angel in the Derby, Hunter's favorite wins, much to the chagrin of the Angels fans I'm sure. Ortiz shows he still has some power (understatement there) left in him, and maybe he will show it off a little more in the second half.
There may not have been a swing off or bat-off this Derby, but it still was pretty entertaining. All Star Weekend is already half over, but the best is yet to come! Hopefully, Ortiz does not change his shoes though.