Ryan Howard hit a bunch of homers last year to beat David Wright last year.
The Home Run Derby is the spectacular car crash of professional sports. It’s truly cringe-worthy, but you just have to watch.
Here are some observations and I endured this event with my daughter Monday night.
-- Counting Crows? Two years ago we had Alter Bridge playing with Mike Piazza and the traitor Damon running around the stage. Now we get the Counting Crows with enough pyro to make Kiss feel at home. And I can guess this is the first time Crows, flannel shirt types for sure, have played with columns of fire blasting up from behind the drum riser. How is baseball supposed to appear hip in 2007 when it hauls out a 1990s-era band playing a song from the Shrek 2 soundtrack?
-- I’m only a novice on the kayak. But even I could tell that Kenny Mayne was in trouble when they showed him floating out in McCovey Cove. Dude had so much gear on board – like his helmet cam -- that he was riding pretty low in the water. He looked like he was exceeding the kayak weight limit. Not that I’d know anything about that. I’m sure the smug people in canoes refused to wave to him.
-- All-Star jerseys are often ugly and easy to make fun of. But this year’s models are just brutal! Why do they show one bridge tower in the designs? I’m no architect or engineer, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a suspension bridge that hangs from one tower in the middle. Horrid! And this was the first year they made the players wear bad caps to go with the bad jerseys. Kudos to Vlad Guerrero for refusing to wear his.
-- I know some people like Chris Berman’s nicknames. But when he introduced Albert Pujols as Winnie-the-Pooh-jols, even my 10-year-old daughter looked over and made a face. “Why did he call him that?” she asked. I had no good answer. Some things just can’t be justified or explained.
-- Peter Gammons has to turn in his credentials as a journalist/Red Sox homer. I’m not saying I wanted to see him go all Jim Gray on Barry Bonds. But gee whiz. Don’t pretend to ask tough questions about steroids, then let him get away with comments like, “If people want to believe third-party statements” or something like that. Pretty weak. And then Bonds got loose with a line like “I don’t know what the commissioner does,” which was both lame and insulting, especially since the commissioner spends a lot of time cleaning up messes created by players like Bonds.
-- Thank goodness David Ortiz knows not to take this thing too seriously. Bringing out a special bat for Guerrero was the first sign of somebody actually having fun.
-- Prince Fielder knew it was supposed to be a home run competition, right? Watching him it, I thought his goal was to see if he could get the pre-teens roaming the outfield to trample each other chasing one of his weak-assed 10-bouncers.
-- Ryan Howard’s performance has to be the worst by a defending champion. And shame on him for not getting six homers and forcing us to add “swing off” to our lexicon!
-- What’s with all those glad-handers and free-loaders roaming the around the sidelines? What do they think it is, an NFL game? And who was that guy in the flea market air-brushed barber shop t-shirt running up to all the players?
-- Looks like the kayakers got bored and took off after the first round. How many balls even got wet? One? And it looked like people were standing there in the water. I didn’t realize McCovey Cove was only waist-deep.
-- I liked the ad with the guy getting all weepy talking about Aaron’s record-breaker and thinking about his Dad. I can’t imagine anybody feeling that way about Bonds when he breaks that record in the next couple weeks. But the All-Star Game ad with David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes on the cable car was the best.
-- Pretty anticlimactic final round. When Alex Rios ran out of gas and popped just two in the stands, was there anybody who didn’t know Guerrero had it wrapped up?
And so much for the pile o’ Buffalo wings of sporting events. Some fun moments, but a lot of work, zero nutritional value and the guilt of knowing that you probably should have been eating something else.
But on the bright side, David Wright’s second half won’t be ruined!