The author hopes to one day live in a world where there are Situational Hitting Derbys. He fantasizes about watching Placido Polanco go head-to-head with Tadahito Iguchi, trading soft ground balls to the right side of the infield. In this brave new time the new phrase "Is it deep enough to score Ramirez from third.....it might be...it could be...it's a sac fly!!!" would emanate from an over-enthused Chris Berman as a nation-wide audience tuned in.
But, here in the present, there are only Home Run Derbys. Tonight the house that Ruth (and honest union workers) built will host the annual big-dudes-teeing-off-on-batting-practice fastballs-as-fans-assault-each-other-for practice-balls-jamboree. Now, the Derby has grown from humble beginnings to get where it is today. Check out this 1959 clip of Mickey Mantle taking on Willie Mays, back when the winner got $2,000 for their efforts. Some Manhattan-ite is going to drop that on a luxury box tonight.
Hey! Wait a minute! Some of those cut scenes seemed a little fake. Come to think of it: so did the sound effects. Aww, shucks Mick. You wouldn't pull a fast one on the ol' author would you? By the way, Seven would be a great name for a boy...or a girl...especially a girl...or a boy. Sort of like a living tribute.
Back to present day. Here's Philadelphia Phillies slugger/strikeout enthusiast Ryan Howard hitting spheres into a body of water.
The author just can't seem to get into this. He's tried. It just strikes him as one of those things that sounds like a great idea on paper but just fails to elicit any type of emotion when it's played out in real life. Really the only interesting thing is watching the longballs bounce off interesting stuff, but anyone over the age of 13 gets over that pretty quickly. Part of him wishes they could somehow revert back to the original dimensions of Yankee Stadium. How great would it be to watch ball after ball fall harmlessly short of that 490-foot marker in left center?
For the record, the author is picking Chase Utley to win, but wants to point out that we all lose if at any point a "Josh Hamilton tattooed that one" comment is made.