25th Home Run Derby had far more dingers than memorable moments

Coming up with five memorable moments from a two-hour, 30-some minute event featuring some of baseball’s best hitters shouldn’t be this difficult. But perhaps that says something about the event, or the length of it anyway. As far as home run derbies go, this one had way more homers (95 total) than memorable moments. Here goes:

David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez were rooting for each other in the Home Run Derby final.
David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez were rooting for each other in the Home Run Derby final.

1. The winner. David Ortiz is smiling again. And if he starts slowly next year, maybe he will be cut some slack and the smile won’t disappear. The way he bombed those majestic big flies into the right-field seats, the life in Ortiz’s bat is not likely to run out anytime soon. He hit eight, 13 and 11 homers to finish with six more than runner-up Hanley Ramirez. Not bad for a man who, at 34, is old enough for Ramirez to say he’s "like my dad." In a respectful way, of course. Ortiz looked out for his younger countryman when Ramirez was coming up in the Red Sox’s system. Ramirez went so far to admit that Ortiz was rooting for Ramirez to win the derby. "Like I was rooting for him," Ramirez said.

2. The runner-up. For a guy who admitted he was concerned about what entering the derby could do to his swing, Ramirez put on an impressive showing. While Ortiz launched his homers, Ramirez’s were more like line drives drilled over the fence. So why did he decide to enter? "My teammates kept saying why aren’t you doing it, why aren’t you doing it." And will it affect his swing? "I will hit more (homers) now," he said, smiling before adding, "I don’t think so. I know what kind of hitter I am. "

3. On the field. Matt Holliday didn’t make it out of the first round but he did hit the longest homer of the night, 497 feet. He also showed about as much emotion as he does during regular-season games when he slapped his bat after making his final out. With one out left, Holliday had only one homer but then he cranked four straight to make things interesting. He ended up two homers short of moving on.

4. On the sideline. First-time All Star and derby entrant Chris Young didn’t exactly join the ranks of notable sluggers by hitting only one homer, made doubly embarrassing because he had to go first. But give the young Diamondbacks center fielder credit for respecting those who came before him. Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson and Frank Robinson were about to walk off the field after finishing an on-field interview when Young stopped them and asked them to pose for a photograph with him. "I had the opportunity and I went for it," Young said. "I’m framing that one, for sure."

5. In the press box. What better way to promote a movie than bring one of the stars into a press box full of folks looking for a break from watching the derby? Especially when that star is funnyman Will Ferrell? And there he was, appearing on behalf of his upcoming film "The Other Guys" (August 6), wiping sweat from his brow and trying to be quick-witted while squeezed in a room full of media hoping for a mini-monologue. His sports jacket was kind of funny, with an authentic Bobby Grich patch on the front (Ferrell grew up an Angels fan). He had at least one good line. Asked what his home run call would be if he were an announcer, Ferrell replied something like: "It’s back … to the wall. Check your watches (voice rising), it’s home run o’clock." OK, not his funniest one-liner ever but impressive without any notice.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

Coming up with five memorable moments from a two-hour, 30-some minute event featuring some of baseball’s best hitters shouldn’t be this difficult. But perhaps that says something about the event, or the length of it anyway. As far as home run derbies go, this one had way more homers (95 total) than memorable moments. Here goes:

David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez were rooting for each other in the Home Run Derby final.
David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez were rooting for each other in the Home Run Derby final.

1. The winner. David Ortiz is smiling again. And if he starts slowly next year, maybe he will be cut some slack and the smile won’t disappear. The way he bombed those majestic big flies into the right-field seats, the life in Ortiz’s bat is not likely to run out anytime soon. He hit eight, 13 and 11 homers to finish with six more than runner-up Hanley Ramirez. Not bad for a man who, at 34, is old enough for Ramirez to say he’s "like my dad." In a respectful way, of course. Ortiz looked out for his younger countryman when Ramirez was coming up in the Red Sox’s system. Ramirez went so far to admit that Ortiz was rooting for Ramirez to win the derby. "Like I was rooting for him," Ramirez said.

2. The runner-up. For a guy who admitted he was concerned about what entering the derby could do to his swing, Ramirez put on an impressive showing. While Ortiz launched his homers, Ramirez’s were more like line drives drilled over the fence. So why did he decide to enter? "My teammates kept saying why aren’t you doing it, why aren’t you doing it." And will it affect his swing? "I will hit more (homers) now," he said, smiling before adding, "I don’t think so. I know what kind of hitter I am. "

3. On the field. Matt Holliday didn’t make it out of the first round but he did hit the longest homer of the night, 497 feet. He also showed about as much emotion as he does during regular-season games when he slapped his bat after making his final out. With one out left, Holliday had only one homer but then he cranked four straight to make things interesting. He ended up two homers short of moving on.

4. On the sideline. First-time All Star and derby entrant Chris Young didn’t exactly join the ranks of notable sluggers by hitting only one homer, made doubly embarrassing because he had to go first. But give the young Diamondbacks center fielder credit for respecting those who came before him. Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson and Frank Robinson were about to walk off the field after finishing an on-field interview when Young stopped them and asked them to pose for a photograph with him. "I had the opportunity and I went for it," Young said. "I’m framing that one, for sure."

5. In the press box. What better way to promote a movie than bring one of the stars into a press box full of folks looking for a break from watching the derby? Especially when that star is funnyman Will Ferrell? And there he was, appearing on behalf of his upcoming film "The Other Guys" (August 6), wiping sweat from his brow and trying to be quick-witted while squeezed in a room full of media hoping for a mini-monologue. His sports jacket was kind of funny, with an authentic Bobby Grich patch on the front (Ferrell grew up an Angels fan). He had at least one good line. Asked what his home run call would be if he were an announcer, Ferrell replied something like: "It’s back … to the wall. Check your watches (voice rising), it’s home run o’clock." OK, not his funniest one-liner ever but impressive without any notice.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

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