Kansas City, MO. – As All Star events go, the Home Run Derby is a fan favorite and one of my favorites to watch each year. Hockey has the skills challenge, basketball the slam dunk and three point contest and football – well we will just give them a pass on this one. This year the Colorado Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez has been selected to hit in the home run derby and that should push Denver Sports fans to watch next Monday.
When you look back at the contests in the late 1990s and early 2000s who can forget the bombs that Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire catapulted out of ball parks? Although tainted by the steroid accusations, these were some of the best match ups we have seen in baseball history.
7. High Definition TV – Sports are the best reason for the invention of HDTV. I remember inviting friends over in 2003 to watch the MLB Home Run Derby on my 53 inch Sony HDTV. We all gathered in the basement to watch the likes of Albert Pujols, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield pound the ball over the fence. Many of us flinched when players fouled a pitch off at the camera installed in the ground just in front of the plate.
6. – Power – Just watching a baseball game on television many fans don’t realize the strength and power that Major League Baseball players have. If you have never been to a game live and gotten there early to watch batting practice, you haven’t had the chance to see how just about every player can hit a home run whenever they want. Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies puts on a home run display like no other in his last 10 at bats before the game.
5. – Little Leaguers Shagging Balls – What a dream it would be to shag balls for a Major League hitter – much less at the All Star Game. How many collisions are just barely avoided by these young kids – or even just ducking in time to avoid getting whacked by a line drive to left field?
4. – Chris Berman – BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK. Of all of the broadcast that ESPN covers, the Home Run Derby is by far the most entertaining. Listening to Berman’s banter along with on field interviews not only of the participants, but of their kids and the fans hoping to win a new home I love the fun that the players have along with everyone else involved.
3. – Atmosphere – Although there is much debate about whether the winner of the All Star game should receive home field advantage in the World Series I like the fact that players actually take the game seriously. However, their guard is dropped in the Home Run Derby. Players from both leagues marvel at the length of the home runs hit and even rib each other in-between swings. This is one of the few times we see these professionals actually enjoy playing the game without the guarded focus we see in games.
2. – The Players – The Home Run Derby is one of the few times fans get to see the real personalities of the games best players. Here in Denver we all know the playful personality of Carlos Gonzalez – from his roles in the Rockies commercials to the “We Get Tacos” ad campaign from Taco Bell – now the rest of the country will get a chance to see his winning smile and kid like playfulness in the Derby.
1. – Just Plain Fun – Through it all we all watch baseball because we love the game and sports are just plain fun to watch. Being a huge Denver Sports fan myself I love the opportunity to put the stress of being a fan aside and just being able to sit back and enjoy the spectacle that is the Home Run Derby.
Let’s all cheer for Carlos Gonzalez next Monday and Tuesday as he attends his first Major League All Star Game as not just a fan, but as a participant. Win the Derby and get yourself an MVP trophy in the All Star Game Cargo – we will all be cheering and watching.
Denver Sports Chat – Kris Loco