A welcome, and a prediction
Greetings from the 2008 State Farm Home Run Derby — Blog Edition.
From my perch in the Yankee Stadium press box, I’ll be providing live, blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of tonight’s event. Well, unless I run downstairs to get a hot dog. In that case, I’ll provide slightly later-than-live, blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage, all while battling indigestion. So this should be pretty special.
This ballpark is no stranger to historic home runs.
- Babe Ruth hit the first-ever homer here on April 18, 1923, and he hit his then-record 60th homer of the 1927 season here.
- Roger Maris broke that record here on Oct. 1, 1961.
- Chris Chambliss won the ALCS for the Yanks with a bottom-of-the-ninth shot against the Royals here on Oct. 14, 1976.
- Reggie Jackson hit three homers off three different Dodgers pitchers in Game 6 of the World Series here on Oct. 18, 1977.
- George Brett hit a big, ninth-inning homer off Goose Gossage here on July 24, 1983, but used too much pine tar. Jeffrey Maier was an accomplice to Derek Jeter’s Oct. 9, 1996 homer in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Orioles.
- Aaron Boone earned a permanent expletive as his middle name in Boston when he his 11th-inning homer here on Oct. 16, 2003, gave the Yankees the edge over the Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS.
And I’m sure there are one or two others I’m not remembering.
Anyway, this has the makings of a memorable Derby. We’ve got Lance Berkman, Ryan Braun, Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Josh Hamilton, Evan Longoria, Justin Morneau and Grady Sizemore vying for the prize. Up front, I’ve got to give an edge to the guys from the American League. The NL has been provided with drab, gray workout uniforms that make them look like extras from the cast of “Eight Men Out.” That is a psychological disadvantage that might not be overcome.
So, who’s your pick to click? It’s got to be a lefty, right? The loud, drunk Irish guys (that’s not an ethnic stereotype… they really were loud, drunk and from Ireland… deal with it) on the 4 train on my way to the park settled on Utley. I’m leaning toward Hamilton. The guy is already the best story in baseball. Why not toss in a Derby crown, an All-Star Game MVP award and maybe even the revelation that he’s been playing the entire first half with two broken pinkies and a bad case of jock itch? That’s touching stuff.
All right, that’s enough of my rambling for now. Check back soon for more.