A Viewer's Diary of the Homerun Derby

It's that time of year once again when baseball's finest gather together and pretend to care about an exhibition game in the middle of the season. To document this year's All-Star break extravaganza, I decided to keep a running diary of the two most interesting events, the Home Run Derby and the All-Star game itself. Unless it ends in a tie, that is. Anyway, here's part one of our two part series, condensed for those that just couldn't take the two and a half hours of home run goodness.

8:01 p.m. Roger Clemens just gave one of the most awkward introductions I've ever seen. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have a baseball player try to excite a crowd for a musical act needs to find a new job.

8:06 p.m. As Berman calls out the names of all the derby participants, I have to take a second to recover from that horrible country music performance I just witnessed. The song started out with various references to baseball and it's teams, than went into a chorus of "everybody needs love." Those lyrics made about as much sense as a Snow song.

8:12 p.m. Hey! Mike Schmidt is one of the retired members of the 500 club on hand tonight, among the likes of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mark McGwire (weird seeing Mack amongst all the old timers, huh?), etc.

8:17 p.m. After dropping Hammerin' Hanks' ceremonial first pitch, the owner of the Astros (who get his share of boos by the way…thought the event was in Philly for a second) went ahead and had Hank throw a second pitch, something he obviously didn't expect. I guess you can do that kind of thing when the party's at your house.

8:20 p.m. ESPN just aired a commercial for the ESPY awards. Am I the only one who finds this to be the most idiotic award show ever (which is really saying something)? Seems like a waste of time to have awards, voted on by the fans, for things that have statistics that can clearly show who was the best.

8:23 p.m. Barry Bonds is starting things off now that each participant, and half the hall of fame, has been introduced.

8:25 p.m. As Bonds smashes dingers deep into the upper deck, it's becoming very evident that there are just a few advertisements placed around Enro- Minute Maid Park especially for the derby. When they first showed the outfield, I thought I was looking at a NASCAR.

8:28 p.m. When the All-Stars that are just sitting there watching come into the park, does an MLB official hand each one of them a camcorder and a child? And why do they have to be wearing their uniforms? They're just sitting on the grass and watching. If Sammy Sosa pulls a muscle, will come in and pinch hit for him?

8:32 p.m. Barry Bonds ended up with eight homers, which should be good enough to advance to round two. They also said Hank Blalock hit three, which I must have blacked out for because I don't remember seeing that. That's the last time I eat something I found in Courtney Love's purse.

8:35 p.m. I think they're letting the hometown favorite, Lance Berkman, use one of Sosa's corked bats because he is jacking ‘em left and right.

8:38 p.m. Berkman wound up with 7 homers. If Lance comes through and wins tonight, would you say that's the definition of "coincidence" or "fix?" I might have to break out my dictionary later…

8:48 p.m. After a slow start, Tejada, who was either speaking Spanish or jibberish the whole time he was in the box, matched Berkman's seven long balls. Jim Thome takes his hacks after the break.

8:51 p.m. Schmidty joins Boomer and Joe Morgan on the air for Thome's turn at the plate. Nice to see Philly getting our share of representation at All-Star weekend for a change.

8:55 p.m. Only four dongs for Jimmy. Time to pray for some goose eggs.

8:59 p.m. Every time they show the All-Stars and their kids on the field, it makes me wonder why Shawn Kemp never brought all 351 of his illegitimate children to the dunk contest.

9:03 p.m. Why is Sammy Sosa wearing his hat backwards tonight? Doesn't Griffey have that move trademarked?

9:07 p.m. A late surge from Sosa put him at five homers…looks like Thome could be going to bed early tonight.

9:09 p.m. After Sammy made his 10th out, the on-field reporter, Sam Ryan (who makes Eric Dickerson look like Jim Gray by the way) asked him a few questions, and marked the first time a Sam interviewed a Sam. Who knew this would be the historic event to take place at the home run derby?

9:15 p.m. Frank Robinson sounds like he took a hit off a helium balloon before joining the broadcast team.

9:19 p.m. Jeez, Rafy Palmeiro, who's like 64 years old now, takes over the first round lead with nine home runs. Jim can officially start heading back to the hotel.

9:24 p.m. The roof is now open, for what reason, I'm not sure, and round two begins with Bonds, who is one of 34 guys left rocking the solo earring.

9:28 p.m. Barry must be getting too old for this, going yard just three times in his second set of 10 outs.

9:35 p.m. WOW! Lance Berkman just smashed one completely out of the stadium.

9:36 pm. Make that two in a row.

9:37 p.m. Another one just cleared the park. Almost 500 feet.

9:38 p.m. Lance finishes with 10, and has the crowd on their feet. Remember the McGwire rule though, if you hit double digits in one of the first two rounds, you'll be too tired to win it in round three.

9:50 p.m. Reggie Jackson is saying something about windows and box scores that I think I need to be on drugs to fully understand.

9:57 p.m. Tejada just set the single round record by hitting his 15th dinger onto the street. It looks like the winner could be whoever makes it through the final round without collapsing

10:02 p.m. It's around this time every year that I realize three rounds is too many. I love watching home runs as much as the next guy, but after a solid two hours of it, you feel like moving on.

10:08 p.m. Rafy put up a five spot to finish round two, setting up a final matchup of the hometown boy against the new record holder.

10:17 p.m. Berkman tallied four homers, and almost did collapse in his final round appearance. It's all up to Miguel now…

10:29 p.m. Using just five outs, Tejada hit his five home runs necessary to win, and set the record for most total homers in a derby (27). Oh yeah, he also won some lady a house. Not bad at all.

After this, I think there's some kind of celebrity softball game. But when one of the biggest "celebrities" in the game is the winner of The Apprentice, you know it's time to call it a night. So, we'll continue this Tuesday night when Abreu and Thome suit up for the NL All-Star squad.


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