So, the Home Run Derby is going on right now.
I just think that this is a great event. Can’t help it. I know that some people whine about it being meaningless or messing up guys’ swing, but I think it is great entertainment and I love watching it each summer.
Maybe I love it because guys’ I have rooted for have taken part in the derby over the years. Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson, George Bell, Carlos Pena, and, of course, my favorite player of all time, Ryne Sandberg.
So I’ve had lots to cheer for over the years.
Who Ya Pickin’?
I decided to chronicle the derby as it goes along. Why? Mainly for my own fun rather than anybody’s real entertainment.
Here are my picks to win it:
I went with 3 guys just because it’s my blog and I can do what I want.
Chris Young Wow, this guy did not look comfortable at all. He hit one nice dinger, and that was it. I think he has a ton of talent and is going to be in more All-Star Games in the future, but this was a dismal display.
Matt Holliday Wow, that was awesome! He had 9 outs and 1 dinger. Then he proceeded to fire up the launch pad! Wow. He only ended up with 5, but one of those homers was 497 feet!! He is in second place right now. We’ll see what happens.
Miguel Cabrera He really launched some long balls. Wow. He sure showed what kind of a hitter he is: complete. I loved the long ball in the water that Big Papi said, “In the water…you see that?” Funny. Overall, a great performance.
Corey Hart put on a great display in Round 1. Honestly, I did not think he would do well at all. He blasted 13 homers and boy, oh boy, were they long! He had a 464-foot shot that was just majestic. Man, was it annoying to listen to A-rod talk while Swisher was hitting. I do not respect that guy at all, and to hear him try to talk about respect for the game makes me want to puke. Hanley Ramirez was great. I have to admit, though, after his disrespect of the game earlier this season, I was rooting against him. He sure showed me.
So, all I’ve got left is Miggy. I suck.
Miguel Cabrera Damn. This has been great to watch, but none of my guys did anything! Right now my wife is rubbing it in that she chose Big Papi and that he might win. There is a foot rub riding on it! Miggy really let me down. Don’t know who to root for now. Maybe Corey Hart.
Ramirez looks good. Wow. He is really surprising me. Not the biggest surprise, though. Corey Hart’s first round was something else. I’m rooting for Hart to move on to the finals and win it all. (Wow, Hart really stunk it up!)
Big Papi did not disappoint, that’s for sure. Man, that guy just launched moon shot after moon shot. Incredible. Ramirez just had nothing left in the tank (good!) and he could not find a rhythm in that final round. What I thought was pretty cool was watching Ortiz interact with his kid. It was really sweet.
Well, I’ve got a footrub to administer. I’m a loser…
I was in the middle of typing a post about how the Rays have capitalized on their opportunities when I got the message:
Rafael Soriano has been added to the All-Star roster!!!
Of course, his addition is the result of an injury to one of the all-time great closers, Mariano Rivera. I don’t like to be happy about an injury, so I won’t really address it other than to say I hope that the HOF closer is back and ready to go so as to ensure a great competitive AL East.
However, with that aside…THIS IS GREAT NEWS!
I know that many Rays fans whined and complained about how the uber-closer was left off the roster. I was not going to write that post, though. We got 3 All Stars, I don’t want to be greedy.
Keep in mind, it wasn’t that long ago that the idea of getting 2 All Stars was laughable around baseball.
But now, the Rays find themselves with 4 deserving representatives at the Midsummer Classic.
Soriano just closed a game with aplomb last night against the Boston Red Sox, raising his 23rd save in 24 opportunities.
What I loved about the save last night was Soriano’s fire. And, let me tell you, “fire” is not what characterizes this sleepy-eyed Ray. But after surrendering a double in the inning, which made the game more interesting than it needed to be, Soriano retired the final batter and started yelling and untucking his jersey.
So the Rays’ All-Star roster looks like this:
David Price–possible ASG starting pitcher
Now there is nothing to complain about, Rays fans. Everybody who should be there, is there.
(Not an actual portrait)
I was laying around watching Sportscenter this morning, as I can often be found doing most mornings, and found myself feeling nauseous.
No, it wasn’t because of the ubiquitous coverage of White Sox Mark Buehrle’s perfect game yesterday that happened to occur against my beloved Rays. (The coverage was, of course, warranted, by the way…I just am sick of seeing my guys as the team that was no-hit)
No, it wasn’t because of Brett Favre’s constant whining about whether he should come back to play for the Vikings or not (Who isn’t getting sick of that? Geez! I used to like the guy! Now I just want him to go away!)
It was because of a simple poll question the geniuses at the sports network formulated for the fans to vote upon.
In light of the amazing catch that Dewayne Wise made in the top of the 9th inning of Buehrle’s perfect game yesterday (it was quite a catch–dammit!) ESPN decided to give a list of the greatest catches in major league history and ask, “Which of these catches was the best catch?”
Of course I was giddy because I was going to see my guy Carl Crawford honored with a spot on the list because of his exceptional catch in this year’s All-Star Game that helped to preserve the AL’s victory and secure home field advantage of the American League team in the World Series.
It was going to be there and I was going to hear the ESPN (I’m pronouncing it “ess-pin”) anchors gush about how amazing it was.
Catch #1 was Dewayne Wise’s amazing catch.
I threw up a little in my mouth, but was otherwise ok.
Catch #2 was Kirby Puckett’s catch against the wall in the 1991 World Series that they say helped the Twins to win it all that year.
Catch #3 was the black and white filmed Willie Mays World Series catch that we all know and love (and have imitated) way back before anybody can remember.
That’s a good one. I think that is THE best catch ever. I’m ok.
Catch #4 was Torii Hunter’s catch to rob Barry Bonds of a home run in the 2002 All-Star Game.
The game was an exhibition back then, so who cares, but whatever. It was good, I guess.
Catch #5 was Endy Chavez’s catch in the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals to rob a home run.
A catch that did not save the game because the Mets still lost. So who gives a crap?
And that was it.
I was waiting for Catch #6, Carl Crawford’s game-preserving catch against the NL in the 2009 All-Star game that allowed the AL to clinch home field advantage in the World Series.
Where was Catch #6!? Where was it!?
Apparently, the masterminds who create the extremely varied and always fresh shows such as blabfest “First Take,” blabfest “Around the Horn,” blabfest “Pardon the Interruption,” and the blabfest “SportsNation” (what other blabfests have I left out?) forgot that one of the best catches just occurred a few weeks ago!
I was livid!
As a Rays fan you have had to accept certain things over the years.
#1–Your team will be ridiculed as being one of the worst ever.
#2–Your dad will call your team the best AAA team in the majors.
#3–People will not go to the games during the week.
#4–Fans of the opposing team will make up more of the audience at a game than your own team’s fans.
#5–The media will ignore you, except to mention thing #1.
But all that changed with last year’s Rays team. The World Series Rays team. The AL Champion Rays team.
All that changed, right?
Well, all but thing #5.
ESPN has been notorious for allowing the baseball team in Tampa Bay to go without notice. If they play a team in Los Angeles (Dodgers only), New York, Boston, Chicago, or Philadelphia, then they will get plenty of press, but only because of their association with aforementioned team.
But on their own, the Rays are typically pushed to the end of the Sportscenter program. I can remember many a time where the Rays were actually not even mentioned in the show because they ran out of time. I can remember many a time on “Baseball Tonight” the Rays receiving barely a sentence of acknowledgement from the mouth of Karl Ravich before moving on to the more marketable teams.
I was able to overlook much of this over the years because I guess I figured the Rays deserved it a little bit. They were bad for a long time. That’s hard to forget right away.
But boy oh boy ESPN doesn’t care about the success in Tampa Bay, they care about making sure they pander to the fans of the “big five” baseball markets mentioned above. Because God forbid they don’t smooch the backsides of those teams.
So I walked away from the tv. Angry and incredulous, I made a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. The Cap’n makes all the world’s ills disappear.
Then I accidentally turned on Sportscenter exactly 1 hour later than when I saw it the first time and SAW THE SAME STORY AGAIN!!!
So I stormed like a pouting child to my keyboard and punished it by pounding out my feelings into “words.”
The nausea returned and the frustration boiled over. Almost lost the Cap’n!
Carl, I think that many fans in the country know that your catch belonged on a list of best catches well ahead of a catch a guy made in an All-Star Game when nothing counted and a catch a guy made in a playoff game his team lost and nobody remembers.
Who cares that it wasn’t against the biggest steroid user or for the second team in New York?
We in the oft forgotten Tampa Bay area know your catch garnered you the All-Star Game MVP this year and will help the AL team (the Rays) beat the NL team in the World Series.
Too bad we aren’t one of the “big 5” markets ESPN loves so much.
They probably would have pushed Willie off the list if we were–who cares about catches that really matter, right?
Carlos Pena showed the country last night that we can hit the ball out of the park.
Carl Crawford showed viewers that we can also bring the ball back in.
I was hoping. I was hoping that CC’s 1-3 night and amazing game saving catch would be enough.
Our own Carl Crawford took home the MVP trophy for tonight’s All-Star Game–the first Ray ever to do so. It was an amazing feat that shows exactly how far this franchise has come the last few years.
I was excited that tonight’s game was going to showcase 5 Rays and help get the nation more acquainted with our squad of hard workers. Our guys helped to show the naysayers that this team has alot that will be said before this season is over, playing solid enough defense to lead the AL squad to a 4-3 victory over the NL.
It is no coincidence that fielding has been a hallmark of Joe Maddon’s teams the last few seasons, and to emphasize the point Crawford went blazonly at the fence after Rockie Brad Hawpe launched a long ball towards left center field. CC did what CC does best–he took away a hit.
Only this time, the “hit” he stole was going to be a game-tying home run.
Hawpe hit it to the wrong side of the ballpark.
Crawford exhibited his typical humble personality in his postgame interview. In fact, he seemed happier to have gotten an autographed baseball from our nation’s president than he did to be the winner of the MVP of the All-Star Game. He told Chris Rose of FOX that it was his teammates, his Rays coaches, and manager Joe Maddon who helped him to be comfortable enough to go out there and play well.
Lucky for the AL, he did play well. In fact, the American League team that makes the World Series (ahem, the Rays) owes Carl a debt of gratitude for giving them home field advantage.
What a great night.
Congrats to CC on being named the AL’s All-Star Game MVP.
Congrats to the Rays on demonstrating the “Ray Way” of playing the game.
ALL STAR RECAP
Overall I would say that the game was a success. I enjoyed it MUCH more than the Home Run Derby the night before. There was alot more drama and more excitement.
Plus, I would say the pitchers last night fared much better than the pitchers at the derby….
Here are some things I noticed about last night’s game:
Wow. Somebody get out a stopwatch because those pitchers were trying for some kind of speed record out there. They got the ball and threw, no hesitation. Of course, it didn’t help that many of the hitters were swinging away at the first or second pitch.
I felt especially bad for Raul Ibanez. The guy gets his first All-Star Game nod and swings at the first pitch he ever seeing in an ASG and fouls out to third. Ouch. Not many good memories there.
Aside from CC’s amazing catch, I thought the fielding was adequate.
The game was punctuated by great catches in the outfield, one for the AL (Crawford) and one for the NL (Jayson Werth’s snag in the 8th to stop an AL potential rally).
Albert Pujols booted one early in the game, but came back to make a few good plays after that.
Jason Bartlett almost made an amazing play diving for a grounder up the middle. That would really have shown everybody how we play defense at the Trop.
(It was kind of cool in the 9th when Bartlett threw out an Upton–Justin Upton)
I know that does not sound exciting, but I felt like the managers were not making a big effort to get guys in during the game. Especially the pitchers. It seemed like Maddon and Manuel were managing to actually win the game. That is great, but doesn’t that detract from the FUN aspect of the game?
People tune in to see their guys get in. The Pirates are not going to have alot of success this season, but seeing Freddy Sanchez and Zach Duke get into the game is kind of neat. Neither made it.
I know that I was looking forward to seeing Ted Lilly throw an inning–or part of an inning. Unfortunately, the only guy who got booed by the always hospitalbe fans of St. Louis did not make an appearance.
In all, the AL used 25 guys and the NL used 26. That means 7-8 guys on each team made the trip to St. Louis, and that was all. The fans who bought the All Star jerseys never got to see their favorite players wear them on the field.
Of course, the job of a manager in a game such as this is tough. But trying to add more significance to the game (home field advantage in the WS) might just be the thing that is taking away some of its sparkle.
In all, I had a great time watching the game. The Rays did well (they got the MVP of the game, duh) and the game moved quickly. The competition was high and there was a level of fun involved.
Now it will be time to get back to the business of real baseball. Something that, I am sure, every player and fan has been itching for since Ben Zobrist caught the final All Star out.
Ok, so this is kind of a FLUFF post. I’m going to be asking your opinion about tonight’s Home Run Derby. I know, I know…
I am really looking forward to tonight’s Derby. I think that most fans love this night because it ain’t just “chicks” who dig the long ball.
And tonight will be full of plenty of ’em.
While I don’t think we’ll see the spectacle that was Josh Hamilton knocking 28 home runs in the first round again, I think we will see some serious competition–taken with a grain of salt, of course.
I am quite jazzed about the whole thing because the guy who I thought could do a great job in the derby in the first place made it.
And he happens to be a Ray.
Mr. Carlos Pena!
I’m hoping that Mr. Pena will provide the fans with something to cheer about and justify Maddon’s bringing him aboard. He really should have a good chance. His uppercut swing is tailor made for this kind of competition.
The other guy I’ll be rooting hard for will be Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers. I know that Jonestein over at Baseball, Apple Pie, and Lobster is just as thrilled about Cruz being involved in the Derby as I am. His 22 home runs are not a fluke.
There are lots of big hitters participating tonight, so here is a quick rundown of their credentials so that you can get an idea of who you will be pulling for.
Ryan Howard, Phillies 22 hrs
Albert Pujols, Cardinals 32 hrs
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres 24 hrs
Prince Fielder, Brewers 22 hrs
Carlos Pena, Rays 24 hrs
Nelson Cruz, Rangers 22 hrs
Brandon Inge, Tigers 21 hrs
Joe Mauer, Twins 15 hrs
So there’s the lineup.
The Cowbell is pulling for a Pena/Cruz final with Carlos Pena representing the Rays well and winning the trophy.
Here’s the question:
Who do you think will be the final 2 in the Derby and who will win it all?
Here is an updated list of your votes thus far.
Ryan Howard, Phillies 1
Albert Pujols, Cardinals 1
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres 2
Prince Fielder, Brewers 1
Carlos Pena, Rays 2
Nelson Cruz, Rangers 0
Brandon Inge, Tigers 0
Joe Mauer, Twins
If you didn’t figure it out from the headline, the Rays’ Carlos Pena will be making his first All-Star Game appearance in St. Louis this year!!!
Just in this morning is the report that Boston’s Dustin Pedroia will skip this year All-Star Game. This was expected because of the health of his family, and hopefully things will be fine there.
Although it seemed that Ian Kinsler would be the natural choice to take Pedroia’s place on the roster because of the 2B/2B swapout, Joe Maddon went “favorites” and picked the AL home run leader (as of yesterday) Carlos Pena to round out the roster.
How great is that!?
Not only will Pena appear in the game, and I am all abuzz about this next part so get ready for it,
HE WILL BE THE FINAL PARTICIPANT IN THE HOME RUN DERBY!
I think I’m going to faint.
What a great start to a great Sunday!
We were hoping that one of the game’s truly nice guys was going to be able to be in the game. We got our wish!
So Rays fans, get ready to enjoy the greatest All-Star Break in the history of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The injury bug has hit a few of the players in this year’s All-Star Game.
For the AL, Torii Hunter has been forced to miss the game with an abductor strain (whatever that is), allowing one of my favorite players to make the game: Nelson Cruz. One of the top sluggers in the AL right now (who is somehow being platooned by Rangers Manager Ron Washington) with 20 homers and 50 RBIs, I found it very surprising that he was left off the roster the first time around.
What is especially cool about Cruz’s move to the roster is that he has said he will participate in the Home Run Derby. It is going to be lots of fun seeing him park balls over the fence in St. Louis.
I am still hoping that something happens so that Carlos Pena will be able to slide into the game. The chances are getting slimmer, though. And you have to feel doubly bad now for Ian Kinsler, a guy who should have made the team, then should have won the final vote, and then should have been put on the squad after Hunter’s injury. Poor guy.
What really bugs me, though, is how Jayson Werth was able to secure a spot on the roster in place of the injured Carlos Beltran. Don’t we have enough Phillies outfielders on the team!?
It is surprising to see Werth get the nod, although he has fine enough stats, when you consider that a perfectly acceptable outfielder was up for the final vote and did not get in: Matt Kemp. I would certainly rather see Kemp on the team than Werth. I would like to know the reasoning behind that selection, Charlie Manuel.
On a side note, the no hitter last night by Johnathan Sanchez was just classic. He missed a perfect game because of an error by his third baseman late in the game, but his no hitter was saved by an amazing play by Aaron Rowand on a huge drive to center field. I’m sure A Diatribe from a Journalism Student would be thrilled to find that one of her fave players helped to save a no hitter by playing the fearless defense he is known for. She is right about how hard-nosed that guy is. Well done Aaron Rowand.
But what makes this whole night perfect is the fact that Sanchez’s dad was in the stands to see him pitch for the first time. Seeing the father and son hug after the game was a little <sniff, sniff> touching.
I’m not crying. There is something in my eye. DOES SOMEBODY HAVE A TISSUE!?