The 2012 Home Run Derby kicks off tonight at 7pm CT (8pm ET) on ESPN. The AL squad features reigning champion Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder, and Mark Trumbo. The NL squad – which looks weak by contrast – features Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, and Carlos Beltran.
I’ll confess: I’m a sucker for the Home Run Derby. I remember Josh Hamilton’s ridiculous home run binge (which featured homers on 13 consecutive swings), Bobby Abreu’s blowout year, Sammy Sosa’s deep-distance bombs at Miller Park, and so much more. It’s silly and it’s fun. And it’s special.
Sure, other sports have All-Star skills competitions, but do they really *feel* like the Home Run Derby? It’s just special, isn’t it? Or am I just a homer for homers?
In any event, I’ll be watching tonight, and you should, too. Consider this post your open thread for the Derby, where you can drop your oohs and aahs, and grouse that Bryan LaHair was excluded when Andrew McCutchen hits just one home run.
I like Fielder and Cano to have big nights, and maybe Cargo, too.
Also: State Farm is running a charity promotion, tied to the Home Run Derby. The details are here (and that’s where you go to play the game), but the gist is you can raise money for your charity of choice by playing a home run derby game online.