Here’s the final word from Morneau…
“It’s lucky that we got reset after the first two rounds,” Morneau said. “[Hamilton] deserved to win, and I got lucky that he got a little tired. That was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.”
I concur. Hamilton wowed us tonight, and $250,000 was donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. So I’d say this was a rousing success, aside from having to listen to Chris Berman for three hours.
Thanks for joining me here in the land of electronic homers. And feel free to stop by my “CastroTurf” blog sometime. We’re open all night.
Hamilton pops out on the Gold Ball, and Justin Morneau is your 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby champion.
But we all know who the people’s champion was.
Hamilton steps out of the box to collect himself, then steps in and makes his eight out. But the crowd is behind him. And now “The Final Countdown” is playing. I don’t know if this is electric or cheesy.
And there’s the ninth out. I’m nervous. For no particular reason.
Chants of “Ham-il-ton!” erupt, as he makes his fifth out, lining one off the right-field wall.
But then comes his third homer, a majestic blast deep into the black batter’s eye, drawing “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd.
“Rocky” music playing on the Yankee Stadium speakers, as Hamilton makes his sixth and seventh outs. He has three homers and three outs to go.
Hamilton makes his third out, and the crowd, sensing that he needs some encouragement, urges him on with a loud cheer. But he pops up to make a fourth out, and you can tell he’s pressing.
He quickly rights himself, though, with another shot to the bleachers…
Hamilton’s second swing is a no-doubt-about-it blast that lands among the bleacher bums. 488 feet.
Then he makes his second out…
The fans rise to their feet as Hamilton steps back up. A few players still milling around on each side, and cameras are flashing all over the stadium as he takes his first swing… and just barely misses knocking one out to left…
Here’s the play by play on Morneau’s final round…
Morneau makes three quick outs, then goes upper deck in right.
ESPN’s Erin Andrews walks by the fans seated behind home plate, and the guys go crazy as she waves. That had nothing to do with Morneau, but those cheers were louder than the ones for his upper deck homer.
Morneau goes deep again to deep center before making his fifth out. Then he grounds one to the right side for his sixth out and pops one to right for his seventh. He’s at two homers with three outs to go.
Morneau gets a pitch up in the zone and cranks it out to the upper deck. He’s at three homers. He flies out to right-center for out No. 8. He flies out again for No. 9.
The Gold Ball comes out, and Morneau knocks it out to the right-center bleachers. The crowd gives him the golf-clap treatment. Hamilton has won this crowd over.
Morneau blasts another to the upper deck for his fifth homer. Not that the crowd noise would indicate as much. He lines one to right for his final out.
Decent round for Morneau, but will five be enough to hold off Hamilton? Depends how tired the dude is after that monster first round, I guess.
Morneau popped one out to left. Bennett Hayes… you gave it the ol’ college try, my friend.
OK, now we’re ready for the Finals. Morneau will bat first (contrary to my erroneous post earlier)…
Reggie Jackson handled the coin toss to determine the order for the Call Your Shot promotion, and Hamilton batted first.
What’s the Call Your Shot promotion? Well, Bennett Hayes of Brimfield, Ill., won the right from State Farm to go on the field before the finals and predict where each finalist will try to deliver a home run. If either player delivers a homer to the spot Hayes picked, Hayes wins a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid vehicle and a 2009 MLB ticket package.
Hayes called a shot to right for Hamilton, and Hamilton lined one to right that didn’t go out.
Morneau up now. Also aiming for right…