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Tuesday night's 2012 MLB Home Run Derby on ESPN saw its ratings improve three percent from the 2011 competition. Approximately 6.9 million people tuned in to see Prince Fielder win his second career derby title and Robinson Cano mercilessly booed by the Kansas City crowd, up from 6.7 million the previous season.
ESPN and MLB say Home Run Derby generated a 4.81 rating and 6.9 million viewers, up 3% from 4.67 rating and 6.7 million viewers last year.— Fang's Bites (@fangsbites) July 10, 2012
The numbers are impressive, especially with some context. More viewers tuned in to watch baseball players slap dingers Monday than during any game in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals or this past Sunday's Wimbledon Men's Final. The competition also drew better ratings than any MLB game this season.
Cano, the AL captain, passed over the Royals' Billy Butler for his Home Run Derby team. He heard about this from Kansas City fans Monday night -- loud and clear.
Another Home Run Derby is in the books, and for the second time in his career, Prince Fielder has been crowned the champion. That is a royal play on words. You don't actually get a crown for winning the Home Run Derby, although you do get a bitchin trophy that you may or may not be allowed to keep.
Here's the final leaderboard:
What did we learn? I wouldn't say we learned anything, aside from the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby results, but Cano won a year ago, he was predicted by players to repeat, and instead of repeating as champion he got shut out completely. We gained further evidence that it's impossible to predict the Home Run Derby and trying to predict it is a waste of time anyway because honestly who cares? Honestly, who cares? Does anybody watch the Home Run Derby to see who wins? You watch out of desperation and you cling to the hope that you'll be given something, anything memorable, even if that's just the lasting image of a fly-ball-shagger getting bopped on the top of the head.
The memory from this one isn't going to be Prince Fielder or Jose Bautista hitting dingers. It's going to be the way Cano was treated by the Kansas City natives in attendance. Cano was in charge of filling out the rest of the American League team, and at first he said he'd like to pick a Royal. But he wound up with Fielder, Bautista, and Trumbo, claiming that Albert Pujols recommended Trumbo for a slot. Royals fans took offense, they booed Cano when he was introduced, and they cheered every time he made an out, which he did with all ten of his swings.
Cano wasn't wrong to pick the players he did, because they're all prolific home-run hitters. Kansas City fans weren't wrong for voicing their displeasure, because this was their own home field, they're allowed to be biased, and most importantly -- absolutely most importantly -- it was meant in fun. Kansas City fans don't hate Robinson Cano any more than they used to, and nobody would've been truly heartbroken that Billy Butler wasn't asked to participate. Butler didn't deserve to participate. Cano took it all in stride and as the fans were cheering his outs I couldn't stop smiling, but now we're wading through articles like this:
So it was foolish for Royals fans to let any negativity seep into Kauffman Stadium — even if it was directed at a member of the loathed Yankees. A more discerning group of fans would realize the marketing power that accompanies an All-Star Game. Presumably, the Royals will want to compete for top-tier free agents as the team moves closer to legitimate contention. Why risk leaving a bad impression with any of the would-be free agents in attendance?
Brandon McCarthy provides the voice of reason:
@jonmorosi why? Can nobody's feelings ever be hurt? I thought tonight was awesome with the fans booing Cano/ showing Butler support— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) July 10, 2012
A surprising number of people on Twitter were referring to the fans' behavior as classless and uncalled for. Not just people-people, but authority-people, baseball-people. That caught me off guard, because I couldn't imagine how anyone could see that and hear that and not think it was hysterical. But I suspect that people will have short memories, and that the Cano reaction only stirred a response because it was the only thing that possibly could've stirred a response, and people always need to be responding. On a day when nothing's a big deal, something has to be a big deal, because people can't just relax. Just relax. It's the All-Star break.
More All-Star stuff tomorrow. I don't know how I'm ever going to get to fall asleep, because this is like Christmas Eve!
Prince Fielder out-homered Jose Bautista 16 to 13 through two rounds. Then those totals were erased, and Prince Fielder out-homered Jose Bautista 12 to 7 in the final. Which means that Prince Fielder is our 2012 MLB Home Run Derby champion! Which means that the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby is over, and at this moment we are a full year away from the 2013 MLB Home Run Derby! If a Home Run Derby even exists next summer. People got all up in arms about that laughing-at-Robinson-Cano thing and maybe Major League Baseball might take the over-sensitive approach and cancel the whole thing.
Last year, Fielder hit nine home runs and came up shy of qualifying for the final. Bautista hit four home runs and came up shy of qualifying for the second round. From them, we learn that it's valuable to have prior Home Run Derby experience. From Robinson Cano, we learn that it's not valuable to have prior Home Run Derby experience. The American League team out-homered the National League team 61 to 21. Leaving out Cano, the American League team out-homered the National League team 61 to 21. That makes Robinson Cano one shitty teammate and one hell of a captain.
Fielder was leaning back in his chair when Bautista made his tenth out of the final round. Fielder remained in the same position, hands behind his head, and he only embraced Sandy Guerrero when Guerrero informed him that the tournament was over. Pretty much. Chris Berman was talking about how all the fans were on their feet by the end, but it's hard to tell the difference between enthusiasm about the on-field event and enthusiasm about leaving.
something something trophy children
Stay tuned for the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity softball game. Announced by Bill Simmons? What in the shit? That's even worse than live-blogging! I will not be live-blogging. I'll watch just long enough to see if anyone invited Erik Per Sullivan.
Last year, Sandy Guerrero was the Home Run Derby pitcher for both Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks. They combined to hit 12 home runs over three rounds, with Fielder coming up short of the final. This year, Guerrero was the Derby pitcher for Prince Fielder again, and Fielder just slugged a dozen dingers in the final. I'm feeling a second wind now, a renewed interest in this event, because it's almost over, and all that's left is Jose Bautista probably not hitting a dozen dingers as well.
It could've been more daunting, though. Fielder finished with 12 homers and ten outs, but at one point he had eight homers and one out. Which means after that he had four homers and nine outs. Fielder really lost all of his momentum and so he's going to back into his victory. He's not going to charge into his victory, the way he charged into Gerald Laird the other day. When Prince Fielder backs into something, it probably feels like a normal-sized human charging into something.
It just dawned on me that I've watched pretty much this entire thing on mute. I know a lot of people mute the Home Run Derby for obvious reasons but for me it was unintentional. I just can't really concentrate on typing when the TV is making noise, and one thing led to another, and for three hours I haven't listened to Chris Berman nearly as much as I was afraid of. The Home Run Derby must score awesomely with deaf people. The Home Run Derby and Demi Lovato. What is that about?
Through two rounds, Prince Fielder had 16 home runs, Mark Trumbo had 13 home runs, and Carlos Beltran had 12 home runs. Through one round, Jose Bautista had 11 home runs, meaning he needed to hit just three home runs in the second round to meet up with Fielder in the championship. He hit two home runs because Jose Bautista is a choker who has never hit an important home run in his life. What that forced was a swing-off between Bautista and Trumbo, which is a thing that happens that makes the Home Run Derby longer. If you're still following along you have no right to complain. You're not even conscious and while you're clicking on these posts and looking at these words, you're not reading them, you're not processes them. You are a doll. The Home Run Derby has rendered you a human-sized doll.
Trumbo hit one home run in the swing off and Bautista defeated him immediately with two home runs and now Bautista has hit an important home run in his life. That's great news for whatever charity Bautista is here representing and terrible news for whatever charity Trumbo is here representing. Sure, great, Jose Bautista could win money for a charity. He's also keeping money from several other charities. Have we investigated which charities won't get money on account of Jose Bautista? Might be something here for you aspiring journalists.
Championship time. Last year, Robinson Cano beat Adrian Gonzalez in the championship. This year, Robinson Cano hit zero home runs in the Home Run Derby, and Adrian Gonzalez has six home runs at the break. Adrian Gonzalez has two-thirds as many home runs at the break as teammate Mike Aviles. Remember how earlier in this stream I embedded a tweet saying most players expected Robinson Cano to repeat as the champion? What have we learned about players?
I've fallen hopelessly behind such that I'm only now writing about Mark Trumbo's second round as Jose Bautista's second round is underway. Trumbo is already finished; Bautista came after him. I am not writing about the future. That would be the opposite of falling hopelessly behind, unless I've fallen behind in how far ahead in the future I'm writing about.
Trumbo and Carlos Beltran each hit seven home runs in the first round. Beltran hit five in the second round and Trumbo just hit six, meaning Beltran is eliminated from contention and Trumbo needs to hope that Jose Bautista sucks real bad. Usually having to hope for Jose Bautista to suck is a losing proposition. Bautista hit 11 home runs in the first round and Trumbo finished with a combined total of 13, so with three home runs Bautista would eliminate Trumbo and face Prince Fielder in the championship. Hey what do you know, all three of these guys are American Leaguers. Does the National League even have home runs or do they only ever see them during interleague play?
Look at all of that informative writing! I have kept you up to date on the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby! Mark Trumbo hit some dingers and there's a chance he could survive to hit some more dingers soon.
There was Carlos Beltran, and then there was not. The final tally? Five. There was Carlos Beltran, and then there were five, and then there was no Carlos Beltran anymore. He is around, he has not disappeared, but for the moment he has retreated back into the mist. The thick coming mist, rolling down from the hills, all of the hills, consuming us and everyone and everything we know. Words cannot be exchanged -- visibility is that of the point of one's nose. Messages may be exchanged, but only written, only scrawled on baseballs, mashed as dingers and scattered about at seeming random. Will the fog lift? Will there always be fog? Has there always been fog, of which we've only now become aware? All these questions and more must be posed to philosophers, written on baseballs, delivered as dingers. The fog grows thicker. It moistens the skin. All is slick, so nothing is slick. All is damp, so nothing is damp.
This is a moment of honesty: I didn't watch Prince Fielder's second round at all. I mean, it was on the television in front of me, but I was busy scrolling through Twitter and seeing how pissed off so many people are that the Kansas City audience had the gall to cheer Robinson Cano getting shut out. Robinson Cano plays for the New York Yankees and I'm pretty sure he's used to getting booed everywhere he goes, so I'm reasonably certain he can handle some laughter when he sucks at hitting home runs when he's supposed to hit home runs. So many people are so sensitive on Cano's behalf. And nobody's even considered the possibility that the crowd was laughing at punchlines delivered by comedian John Mulaney that just happened to come around the same time that Cano swung into outs. John Mulaney is one stand-up guy. (Not a John Mulaney joke)
Fielder hit 11 home runs, which gives him a total of 16 home runs after two rounds. Everybody is eating ribs now. It started with John Kruk but now the entire broadcast and one of the All-Stars are eating ribs. And now Carlos Beltran is hitting home runs and I've lost track of what's going on. We're approaching the two-hour mark of this. Including Fielder's second round, we've seen 50 home runs. The Dodgers and Giants have both hit 51 home runs. This is a comparison that means absolutely nothing but that you will read into anyway. ugh I'm sorry this update has been uninteresting, but the source material is uninteresting, and not in an interesting way. Men are eating ribs.
Matt Kemp hit one home run in turning in the worst round of the Derby. He was followed by Robinson Cano, the 2011 champion, and everybody's already forgotten whatever Kemp did, because Cano just turned in a round many of us won't forget for a while. The most memorable thing we've seen so far in the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby is Robinson Cano's first round, in which he hit zero home runs.
The best parts:
He hit zero home runs
He hit zero home runs! If there was a "big story" about the 2011 Derby, it was that Cano won while being pitched to by his father. He was pitched to by his father just a few minutes ago and he came up literally, completely empty. Cano last year hit eight, 12, and 12 home runs. Zero. Team captain! Mutiny!
The Kansas City crowd has been all over Cano for selecting who he did and leaving out Royals DH Billy Butler. They booed Cano when he was introduced, and they cheered louder and louder with every successive out. The biggest ovation probably came when Cano hit a line drive off the top of the fence. That performance by the crowd spurred the most wrong tweet I've seen so far today:
Billy Butler has never stirred this much passion during the regular season. Why now? This is lame.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 10, 2012
This was fantastic. It was something unpredictable, and therefore something surprising and memorable. Nobody's going to think Kansas City is full of assholes because they laughed at Robinson Cano. They're going to think Kansas City is hilarious.
The one kid
I'm falling way behind and this round deserves more coverage than I've given it but I need to keep up. This is the Home Run Derby, this is serious, and here is the serious leaderboard:
On to the second round, which I guess gets added to the first round? But then the third round is out on its own? This nonsense is really damaging the integrity of the on-field product.
Last year, Matt Kemp participated in the Home Run Derby and hit two home runs while being pitched to by Rob Flippo. That was the worst performance of the eight. This year, Matt Kemp participated in the Home Run Derby and hit one home run while being pitched to by Rob Flippo. That is the worst performance so far. Kemp took nine outs before he finally cleared the fence in center field, and even that one took one of the stupid shithead kids all the way back to the track before he gave up his pursuit. Matt Kemp is just the worst at this and he is also the best player on the Dodgers so I can only assume that the Dodgers are 5-80.
I don't have anything else to say about Matt Kemp so here's a paragraph on the geologic history of Broken Top, an extinct stratovolcano approximately 20 miles west of Bend, Oregon. Wikipedia:
Due to extensive erosion, the contents of Broken Top's cone are exposed, and allow volcanologists to classify Broken Top as a complex stratovolcano. Its initial eruptions during the Pleistocene, consisting of basaltic andesite lava, contributed to a base shield. The center of this edifice consists of agglomerate, which was oxidized, and intrusive dikes and geologic sills. Erratic eruptions continued afterward, erupting silicic lava. Much of the current cone is occupied by flows of andesite, dacite, rhyodacite, and pyroclastic flows; these deposits extending from the subordinate volcano to the summit. The volcanic crater, now 0.8 km, was most likely subsidized.
Prince Fielder has stepped in now, batting for the American League after batting for the National League in 2011. Last year, the Derby finals came down to a pair of American Leaguers, and a major reason why Fielder signed with the Tigers as a free agent was because he wanted to be on the winning side of one of these things for a change. The Marlins simply never had a chance.
Fielder hit a home run into one of the fountains, which is a long distance away and which also polluted the water with a baseball. Buster Olney immediately interviewed Justin Verlander on the sidelines, and Verlander remarked that he gets to see Fielder and Miguel Cabrera play "home run derby every day" in batting practice. Well gosh sorry that you're not impressed Mr. I'm Impossible To Impress. Fielder and Cabrera get to see you play all the time too, I bet they're over it. "Oh wow another 100 mile-per-hour fastball, way to jazz it up." Isn't it just the lamest thing when incredible players are consistently incredible? No wonder Kate Upton won't get with Justin Verlander. He sees something amazing once and the second time he's like "ehh".
Oh crap Fielder hit five(?) home runs and now Matt Kemp is already almost finished being terrible. I don't know why they even invite Matt Kemp to Home Run Derbies or anything. After this miserable performance Kemp should probably stop being invited to anything. I guess they could invite him to prison for the crime of making us watch him suck.
Here's Andrew McCutchen, and while he's one of the most fun all-around baseball players to watch in the game, he's fun because he's littered with skills. He's good or awesome at everything. I don't know if a Home Run Derby is really a suitable environment. It's perfect for Mark Trumbo because all Mark Trumbo does is mash dingers. It would be more fitting if McCutchen participated in an event where he hits fly balls and then drops the bat and runs and catches them.
McCutchen isn't doing so hot, and Chris Berman seems to have anticipated this since he's spent McCutchen's entire round interviewing Josh Hamilton. We wondered earlier whether Berman is truly enchanted by home runs, or if he's just acting. He's basically been ignoring McCutchen's home runs so either he's ordinarily acting, or he's enchanted by most home runs and is also a miserable racist. McCutchen just finished with four home runs, and that isn't very good! That's also twice as many home runs as Matt Kemp hit in this thing a year ago. Kemp's pitcher last year was named Rob Flippo. I hope he flippo'd him for someone else! haha
Commercial break now. Instead of having commercials after every two rounds, we get commercials after one round. This first commercial is a commercial for a video game in which your character kills a lot of other people if you're playing it right. Every video game these days makes you either kill things or play golf. I wouldn't want to be friends with somebody heavily influenced by either one.
Mark Trumbo is the player I most wanted to watch in this thing, and because I'm the only person in the room, I'm going to assume that Mark Trumbo is the player all of us most wanted to watch in this thing. His round is over, having launched seven dingers. That ties him with one of the guys, puts him in front of one of the guys, and puts him behind one of the guys. I don't remember who was good and who was bad. Oh, right, Carlos Gonzalez was bad, I don't know why Colorado even has a baseball team.
Trumbo didn't put on the mammoth display of which we all know he's capable, but he did draw an animated player reaction when he blasted a low line drive out to straightaway center, and he drew an animated fan and announcer reaction when he blasted a fly ball off of the roof of something in left field down the line. That home run probably wasn't his longest home run of the round (I wasn't paying attention), but people don't care so much about distance as they care about baseballs hitting things that aren't normally hit by baseballs. Hitting the roof in left field looks more impressive than hitting a ball out to dead center even though it isn't really. People and their brains.
Here's Andrew McCutchen, who isn't Rickie Weeks despite having a similar haircut. Last year Rickie Weeks hit three home runs and didn't make it out of the first round. McCutchen just hit a fly ball that one of the ball-shaggers flat-out dropped like an idiot. They're back!
Alternate headline: Carlos Gonzalez Predictably Terrible. I got lazy coming out of that commercial break and forgot about how quickly I have to type, especially when the active participant is a Rockies position player on the road. Carlos Gonzalez batted and finished with four home runs, which isn't many home runs, and I missed most of his round because I was looking up his splits since joining Colorado.
Since 2009, Gonzalez has slugged .664 at home with 61 home runs, and he's slugged .451 on the road with 29 home runs. Matt Kemp probably selected him because Kemp plays against Gonzalez a bunch and he's seen him in one of his grooves, but Matt Kemp needs to pay more attention to splits and park factors if he wants to win this thing. This is what determines World Series home-field advantage and the Dodgers are fighting for a playoff spot. Careless.
God, now I'm spending all this time trying to say anything about Carlos Gonzalez and in the process I'm missing Mark Trumbo, who I want to watch the most. Look what you've done, you terrible home-run hitter! Gonzalez should only ever participate in Home Run Derbies in Coors Field, along with literally everybody else. That sentence didn't come out right. No time to fix it, Trumbo Trumbo Trumbo.
While I was writing about Carlos Beltran, Jose Bautista came up and started making outs. At this pace I won't be able to keep up! At this pace everybody else will just keep on making outs and Beltran will win in like twenty minutes. Rooting for this pace. I watch the about 150 times a year and I can't appreciate these home runs so I can't even imagine how a regular baseball fan must feel.
Buster Olney just told us where Jose Bautista's Derby pitcher went to college. (Holy Cross.) No story, no joke, no follow-up, no anything. Just information. A friend of mine went to the University of Redlands. Now you have that information too, which is just as valuable.
Bautista is hitting some dingers, which is probably old hat for him by now. He should try going the other way because you're never too big for the fundamentals. Do you think Chris Berman actually gets as much of a thrill out of each individual home run as he acts like, or is he just a consistent and convincing actor? Chris Berman has seen thousands upon thousands of home runs. Each one is like his first time seeing one with his eyes after reading about them in books. Chris Berman might be a better actor than Erik Per Sullivan. Somehow all of my live-blogs come back to Dewey from Malcolm In The Middle. Oh Bautista just finished with 11 home runs. Up next is a Rockies player hitting somewhere that isn't Coors Field. Now would be a good time to go do the drugs you'll need to do to get through the next two and a half hours of this.
We finally got the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby underway around 5:16pm Pacific, which is where I am, which is therefore the only time that matters to me. This was scheduled to begin at approximately 5pm Pacific. On a geological time scale, 5:16 is hardly different from 5:00, so kudos to Major League Baseball for nailing it and satisfying the geologists.
Carlos Beltran is leading off and I guess I'm going to straight-up live-blog. Out! Take! Take! Out! Out! Okay this isn't working. Beltran has hit some home runs and he has hit some outs and his round is almost over. Now his round is over and he finishes with seven home runs. That would've been enough to advance to the second round a year ago, where the threshold was five, but this year isn't a year ago. Doesn't that make you happy and sad?
For me, the big takeaway from Beltran's round is that the idiot kids shagging flies in the outfield are less idioty than they usually are. The first line drive was caught on a bounce, and the first fly ball was caught on the fly. Dudes like Endy Chavez should shag flies out there too and teach these kids a thing about communication, as long as they think they're professionals. Uh oh here comes another hitter I better move on
My first final opening thought is that the Home Run Derby isn't over yet. As a matter of fact, it hasn't even begun, which is why I'm writing about final opening thoughts after 8pm Eastern. I'm presently watching the Zac Brown Band rock the f*** out because Chris Berman didn't get the fans energized enough when he asked if all of them were ready for long balls. He did that again, for at least the second year in a row. He basically asked each individual fan if he was ready for long balls. Of course they're ready! They're at the Home Run Derby! They are literally ready for long balls more than they are ready for anything else!
The supposed-to-be moving intro to tonight's presentation on ESPN showed a highlight reel of memorable home runs throughout baseball history, and alleged that there are home runs that you never forget. That is absolutely correct, I will never forget Mark McGwire's 62nd home run, or Joe Carter's home run in the World Series. Those home runs were not hit in the Home Run Derby. I am being completely honest when I say I don't remember any individual home run in a Home Run Derby ever hit. I do remember how every individual home run was called, by Chris Berman. (So do you!)
For the first time, I am live-blogging this thing from my mother's house instead of from my apartment, which is completely irrelevant to you, and completely relevant to me. There are distractions here, and dogs. And cable I'm not familiar with. When I first turned on the TV I landed on ESPN Deportes. Thinking about going back to ESPN Deportes. If this live blog isn't very enjoyable, blame my mother's house. Or the Home Run Derby.
Robinson Cano just got booed again for not selecting Royals slugger Billy Butler. But I don't know what these fans are upset about, the Derby's first batter is going to be Carlos Beltran and it's not like Kansas City needs two representatives out of eight. Don't be greedy!
I should just leave this post completely empty because there are no frequently asked questions about the Home Run Derby. "This crayon doesn't taste like yellow" might be frequently uttered by Home Run Derby enthusiasts, but it doesn't count as a question. I already wrote the headline and these sentences though, so I'm committed to this update, so let's come up with some questions I can easily answer myself without doing any research.
Are there any Royals representing the American League?
Do Royals fans think there should be?
I understand AL team captain Robinson Cano has been catching some grief from the attended for not selecting Billy Butler instead of, I don't know, I guess Prince Fielder? You can't leave out Mark Trumbo because his home runs are gargantuan. You can't leave out Jose Bautista because he's like the greatest hitter on the planet. You can't leave out Robinson Cano because Cano won last year and the team captain can't leave himself out. So I don't know who Royals fans think Butler should've replaced but if Royals fans thought rationally they wouldn't be Royals fans.
Who do players think is going to win?
Most players I've asked are predicting Cano will win -- and go back to back.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 9, 2012
But that doesn't make sense
With the sleep deprivation and the pressure and the heat-
Ask a question
Do you think Robinson Cano is going to win again?
I haven't thought about anybody winning and have spent the majority of the day daydreaming about when I'm done writing the final post in this stream.
Does the Home Run Derby ruin your swing for the rest of the season?
Don't some players believe that it does?
Some players wear ion necklaces and believe that they work.
Don't the players' home-run totals usually decline after the Derby?
The players are selected in large part because they have hit a lot of home runs in the first half of the season. Regression is natural and expected and they would presumably regress by a similar or identical amount even without participating. Think about the years upon years of muscle memory that go into a player's regular swing. If that could all be screwed up by a couple of short sessions of batting practice then good players would become terrible all of the time. Pitchers take forever to adjust their mechanics, and they're trying to change!
Is Chris Berman?
How long will Chris Berman?
A year less from now than from a year ago.
We have arrived at the day of the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby. Some people out there have probably been looking forward to this day ever since the last one. This stream will not be for them.
The 2012 Home Run Derby will not include Giancarlo Stanton, which is too bad. It will include Mark Trumbo, which is too good.
Mike Stanton is the kind of player you'd expect in the 2012 Home Run Derby. Andrew McCutchen is not, which makes him the perfect replacement.
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