Monday, July 21, 2008

Talk derby to me...

I realize that I am a bit late in mentioning this, but indulge me for just a minute...I love baseball. I love most sports, but America's favorite pastime (along with college football) tops the list. There is something about the game that just makes me happy. Maybe it's the fact that families come in droves with their foam fingers wearing jerseys with their favorite players name and number on the back. It could be the way the freshly chalked field looks when the home team takes the field or the sound of a well-hit baseball as it leaves the bat. But I'm pretty sure it's the way a hotdog is a must have food item when I would never touch one with a 10-foot pole outside stadium walls. The combination of all of the above make it one of my favorite things to do on a spring/summer evening.

Everyone always looks forward to the All-Star game. It's a chance for all of the game's great players for the year to come together and showcase their skills. Representation from teams around both the AL and NL battle it out for home field advantage during the World Series. This year, it was probably one of, if not THE most talked about All-Star game ever. Why? Because it was played in the mecca that is Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium has been a focal point in baseball for many years. You think of great stadiums and Yankee Stadium tops the list along with the greatness that is Fenway Park. This year in baseball, Yankee Stadium is so special, and often talked about because it is the final year that games will be played there. A new stadium is being built, and Yankee Stadium will be a part of baseball history, known as The House that Ruth Built.

All of this is to say just how special Yankee Stadium is, and set the stage for the awesomeness that was the Home Run Derby of 2008! Part of the All-Star game festivities is the tradition of the home run derby. Players are chosen to step up to the plate and hit as many home runs as humanly possible in 10 outs. An out is considered anything that doesn't "leave the yard" on swinging attempt. Lance Berkman and other great hitters stepped up to the challenge and most contenders hit anywhere between 6-8 homeruns in the opening round....and then there was one!

Josh Hamilton, of the Texas Rangers stepped up to the plate. He had chosen Claybon Counsil as his pitcher for the event. Mr. Counsil, you are the MAN, sir! At 70 years old, he began to throw BP to Josh while he proceeded to TATTOO them out of the yard. At first, it was fairly normal. A homerun here and there and a few outs. And then the show began...Dave and I sat there on the couch watching in AMAZEMENT as he hit one after another, after another, after another. 450 feet, then 500 feet, then 502....most of the homeruns were not just "barely" going out. They were reaching half-way up the third deck! All of Yankee Stadium was on there feet chanting Hamilton's name. He was the crowd favorite. We began to laugh each time he hit the ball because we were watching something so uncommon. It finally became just unreal. Let's be honest, if asked, I'm sure every MLB player participating that night would have told you they were rooting for Hamilton because they knew they were watching baseball history being made!

Photo: Scott Rovak/US Presswire

Photo: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The other players competing were coming up in between hits to get his autograph and rub his shoulders. Halfway through Josh's spectacle, they had to give his pitcher a water break! Claybon Counsil ended up pitching somewhere around 56 pitches to him!! WHY, because he ended up hitting TWENTY-EIGHT home runs in one round!! It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I'm not sure anyone knows who actually won the HR Derby (Yes, as crazy as it sounds, it was not JH!) or even who won the actual All-Star game. The true hero of the derby was far and away Mr. Josh Hamilton.

Thank you, Josh Hamilton and Claybon put on quite a show!

No comments: