Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thoughts on the Derby

I used to love the home run derby. In fact, when I was in my early teens I think I enjoyed the derby more than the All-Star Game itself. Over the years, my attitude has changed -- and more and more often as the years have gone by I've found myself watching the first batter or two, getting bored, and finding something else to watch. Part of it is just the interminable length of the thing, which seems to drag out longer and longer every year. Part of it is that there usually isn't much of a story to the event -- it's just a bunch of guys trying to smash balls out of the yard.

This year was different, for two reasons. First, Josh Hamilton's story is unbelievably compelling. As much as it has been covered, it could have become stale and annoying -- but it hasn't. There always seems to be a new wrinkle or another angle to cover, and ESPN has done a pretty good job of giving us good information. At times during the derby, it felt like things might be a bit overplayed, but that was largely just because of the Herculean feat Hamilton performed in the First Round. "The Story" combined with "The Feat" (28 homers in round 1) made for great entertainment.

Second, Justin Morneau's presence in the event, culminating in what I consider a somewhat shocking win, also gave me a reason to keep watching. For fans outside of Minnesota, I imagine that this was pretty meaningless. For a Twins fan, however, it was surprisingly gratifying. I say "surprisingly" because I really don't care about the derby -- but I sure did enjoy seeing Morneau get the win.

After the event, most of the coverage went to Josh Hamilton's first round, and I'm fine with that. After all, nothing Morneau did tonight was amazing, while Hamilton's first round most definitely was. In the end, though, Morneau gets the trophy and goes down in the history books as the champ. I'm sure he'll take it.

If tomorrow's All-Star Game is on par with what we saw tonight, it'll be quite the game. I hope each of the Twins gets some work, and I'll be rooting for a Morneau homer to put him in the running for the MVP award. Finally, while I almost never root for a Yankee, I'm actually hoping for an AL lead going into the top of the 9th so that we can see Mariano Rivera get in the game. Tomorrow should be a blast!

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