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(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)
It's getting to the point where I honestly think the best part of the Home Run Derby is the fact that the camera frequently focuses on the kids of all the players running around on what I can only assume is a Mountain Dew high and acting like, well, like kids. Particularly adorable last night was Prince Fielder's kid who just kept running around willy nilly and falling down for no apparent reason other than the fact that he's, you know, a small child and probably got into Jonathan Papelbon's Pixi-Stix stash sometime before the Derby commenced.
That said, I'm pretty sure ESPN and Major League Baseball as a whole are glad that professional baseball players often produce photogenic and hilarious children (D'Angelo Ortiz obviously being the most adorable in recent memory) as they're occasionally stuck with the task of having to promote Nelson Cruz (who?) in the Home Run Derby. And since no one outside of Josh Hamilton is aware of the existence of Nelson Cruz, well...back to the cute kids running around in the grass it is.
All in all, it was a fairly nondescript Home Run Derby. I mean, good for Prince Fielder and all but it wasn't terribly high on drama. Exciting though hearing about Fielder's vegetarianism is, drama runs a little low now that he's reportedly reconciled with his famous father and Joe Morgan was relegated to talking about...I don't know. I try not to listen to Joe Morgan. I figure I'll live longer that way.
I mean, Nelson Cruz? This wasn't even like last year where the announcers could rehash the Josh Hamilton Redemption Story over and over again and take side bets with each other over how many times they could shoehorn the word "crackhead" into the broadcast without getting slapped with an FCC fine. (Turns out, a whole lot.)
But here's a question I have: Since Carlos Pena replaced Dustin Pedroia in the All-Star Game due to Pedroia wanting to be with his pregnant wife Kelli who is undergoing labor complications, did Pena also replace Petey in the Home Run Derby? What I mean is, did the world miss out on Dustin Pedroia trying to jack home runs over the St. Louis arch while corkscrewing himself into the ground? Because that? Would have been AMAZING. And we are all the poorer for having to miss it. Let's just see what we can do to make sure this happens next year in Anaheim, no? The world needs to see this. Also, if tradition holds, there will be a wee Pedroia roaming around the infield during such an event (yes, I'm aware that 1-year-olds don't so much "roam" as they do "scoot and drool" but allow me this moment of poetic license), and the TV cameras will have something adorable to focus on when someone like Jason Bartlett wins the Home Run Derby.