Happening Elsewhere is your daily reminder that there is, in fact, a
wide world of sports occurring outside the City of Brotherly Love. So
we hear, anyway.
Can you believe that you have to go back to 2003 to find the last Home Run Derby not to feature a single Phillie? Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley and three times Ryan Howard have proudly represented the Red and White at the longball competition, but with Chase injured, Ryan taking a pass, and no other NLFCer producing prodigously in the dinger department this year, the Derby went Phil-less this year for the first time in seven All-Star Weekends.
Had you watched anyway, though, you would have seen the official re-emergence of a once-proud slugger written off for dead in each of the past two seasons. David Ortiz, who struggled so mightily at the beginning of the season that he plummeted in the Boston lineup order and was essentially renounced by all but the most faithful of Red Sox nation, stroked a combined 32 bombs (11 in the deciding final round) to take the competition to take the title over the second-place Hanley Ramirez (26 total, five deciding). Corey "Evil Jayson Werth" Hart looked like the slugger to beat after 13 first-round blasts, but lost the touch after a long layoff between rounds and never went yard again.
Personally, I know Philly guys are supposed to hate Boston guys and all, but I was pretty glad to see that Big Papi prove that he still had more Mack than Craig. Baseball's just more fun with the guy producing, and regardless of your geographical affiliation, your heart had to break just a little to see Ortiz falling so far and so fast from grace. (If you're still cold-hearted to Ortiz, read this ESPN profile from Howard Bryant. "Do you understand that this is killing me?" asks Papi at one point.) Steroids, yeah, sure, but who knows and who cares, really. I still got love for the big guy.
Always a fan of this SportsCenter spot, too. "Wal-lay! 'Snot what you think!"
(Image from AP)