Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Okay, that wasn't bad

Had last night's Home Run Derby not taken place at Comerica Park, I doubt I would've been interested. Besides the fact that it's essentially a non-event/exhibition, I wasn't too thrilled with the "international" format, with each participant representing his home country. With players who weren't named to the All-Star team participating in the contest (such as Korea's Hee-Seop Choi), Home Run Derby looked to be in danger of becoming the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest, where the game's best players (and most exciting dunkers) opt out of the event.

Here's what I mean: You know who won last year's Slam Dunk Contest? Josh Smith, of the Atlanta Hawks. Not Lebron James. Not Kobe Bryant. Not Dwyane Wade, or any of the other "superstars" a sports fan (casual or fanatical) might recognize. Josh Smith. Raise your hand if you know who Josh Smith is, and you're not a member of his family or an employee of the Atlanta Hawks.

In last night's Home Run Derby, only two of the current top ten home run hitters - Andruw Jones and Mark Teixeira - participated. But those who did attend still put on a show, one of the best in the history of the contest, in fact. Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies hit 41 home runs, destroying the previous record of 27, set last year by Baltimore's Miguel Tejada.

So much for Comerica Park not being conducive to home runs. Abreu hit baseballs into parts of the ballpark that had never been reached before, such as the upper deck in right field - 517 feet away from home plate. Abreu's first turn at-bat, in which he hit 24 homers, lasted almost a half-hour. Suddenly, I wasn't balancing my checkbook anymore. This wasn't just on for background noise; I was actually watching.

But okay, I didn't watch the whole thing. (But Sam, Ms. Feline Anarchy herself, did. I'm glad someone kept track of how the Tigers' Ivan Rodriguez fared.) I have no idea when Home Run Derby ended last night. 11 pm? Midnight? Did it end after Rock Star: INXS was over? (More on that later, either today or tomorrow.)

One more thought: Doesn't Comerica Park look so much better when it's full of fans, rather than empty seats?

And for some actual correspondence from the event, check out the Detroit Tiger Weblog. I'm envious, very envious.