Posted by: Jackie Micucci | July 14, 2009

Swinging for the Fences

I enjoy the All-Star break. It gives me a bit of a breather from worrying about how my boys are doing. Of course, I would have felt a tad better if the Yankees had not gotten themselves swept away in Anaheim beforehand. I just don’t understand why they keep falling to a team that truly is not better than they are, especially this last series with Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter on the DL. If this keeps up I’m getting on a plane and going Tonya Harding on Chone Figgins’ knees. Perhaps that’ll help.

With no game on last night I turned on the Home Run Derby. It was great background noise as I flipped through the latest issue of Time Out New York. I have to admit I just don’t get the appeal of the Derby. It’s batting practice. Plus, with all the performance enhancing drug scandals, it’s glorifying a part of the Game that has become a little dirty at the moment. My significant other suggested adding a fielding contest and I thought that was a great idea. How awesome would it be if Ichiro or Mike Cameron or even Melky Cabrera were in the outfield trying to rob hitters of home runs?

Instead, we were treated to, well, batting practice, although batting practice with lackluster commentary—Chris Berman’s annoying “Back, back, back, gone!” was less enthusiastic than usual—peppered with player interviews from the non-threateningly attractive Erin Andrews. (Why is it that in the world of sports commentary, my gender is relegated to either a pretty young “blonde” in a twin set doing on-field interviews or a former athlete doing play-by-play in a voice that sounds like she has an Adam’s apple?)

The most entertaining moment, for me anyway, was when Andrews interviewed Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton put on a show at the old Yankee Stadium last year, slugging 28 home runs in the first round and winning over the crowd, if not the trophy (that went to Justin Morneau). Andrews asked him what the best part of participating in the Derby was. His reply: “Being a witness for Jesus Christ,” (or something close to that). Andrews followed up by saying that it probably was nice having all those fans (albeit us Godless New Yorkers) chant his name.

Come on Josh! Jesus doesn’t participate in the Home Run Derby. He needs to save his strength for the second half of the season so he can help spur on the overly dramatic finger pointing and gesticulating of the likes of K-Rod and S.F. closer Brian Wilson.

Indeed, it might be easier to get the Lord to participate than to get some big-name sluggers from the American League to compete. Mark Teixeira said he’ll never participate again after “embarrassing himself” by only hitting two home runs in the first round in 2005. (Can you say wuss?) Although it was two more than Jason Bay had that same year. Bay has also stated he won’t participate ever again.

I didn’t even come close to making it to the end of the competition. I had fallen asleep before a tie-breaker between Albert Pujols, Carlos Pena and Joe Mauer to decide who would move on to the second round even started. I didn’t wake up until the very end to see Prince Fielder hold up the trophy. ESPN quickly switched to the previously recorded All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game and I just as quickly switched off the TV. In hindsight, I should have kept it on. I think it would have helped me fall back to sleep faster.

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