Congratulations to Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who won the 2010 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby on Monday night (July 12). Ortiz managed to crank out a total of 32 home runs over the course of three rounds, including an 11 dinger final round that allowed him to slip past Hanley Ramirez, the Florida Marlins shortstop who joined Ortiz in the last round. In addition to Ramirez, Ortiz also left New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher, St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday, Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells, Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart in his wake.
Though the backdrop was beautiful (Angel Stadium features a lovely rock formation beyond the center field wall, which made for a lot of awesome-looking ricochets and wacky bounces), the telecast on ESPN remained as problematic as ever. Depending on who your are, host and analyst Chris Berman is either a terrible announcer or the worst announcer of all time. With Joe Morgan at his side, nothing improves. And to further throw off the chemistry, they invited former Mets manager and Japanese baseball legend Bobby Valentine. As a Mets fan, I love Valentine and sort of miss that era of Mets baseball (even though they didn’t win much of anything during his tenure), but he’s not much of an analyst. And I love puns, but nearly three hours of Berman’s quips had me reaching for the mute button. (Luckily, there was a playlist handy.)
In fact, the biggest problem with the Derby was the fact that it went way too long. It really derailed Hart, who knocked out 13 homers in the opening round and then sat down for 90 minutes before scoring a goose egg in round two. He should stick to wearing “Sunglasses at Night.”