Tonight marks one of the more fun and widely publicized All-Star events of any of the major sports—baseball's Home Run Derby. The Slam Dunk competition has become staid (and rigged), most of you don't know there's a hockey skills comp, and really, who cares about anything having to do with the Pro Bowl.
But the Derby is always fun, particularly for Phillies fans, who have seen two recent winners in Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard. Will Chase Utley join the club tonight? Hard to say. He's got some stiff competition, and more often than not, his homers are catching a pitcher making a mistake more so than just blowing the cover off of a ball. But he's got his swing down pretty tight, so he has as good a shot as anyone. We like the idea Jayson Stark put forward earlier this week: Allow non-All Stars to compete. The best home run hitter in baseball won't be in New York this year, and the Derby will suffer as a result. Doesn't anyone think of the integrity of the Home Run Derby?
We'll be liveblogging the event later tonight, but for now, feel free to chime in with your predictions on who wins, who wears his hat backwards, and who doesn't make it out of the first round.
Festivities get underway at 8 PM, and here is your field:
- Lance Berkman, Astros
- Ryan Braun, Brewers
- Josh Hamilton, Rangers
- Evan Longoria, Rays
- Justin Morneau, Twins
- Grady Sizemore, Indians
- Dan Uggla, Marlins
- Chase Utley, Phillies