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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.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    That Cano round was really embarrassing.

    … for Royals fans. They booed him mercilessly and cheered his failure because he didn’t pick Billy Butler – tied for 23rd in baseball with 16 homers – to be on the AL HR Derby team.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I agree, royals fans showed no class. Its not like Cano is Barry Bonds or anything. Why boo a guy for being a great player?

    • Patrick G

      Agree. Aside from a cub fan I’m a big Yankee
      Fan too(being from NY) and thought that was absolutely classless. I was hoping Cano hit 10 with 9 outs left to shut them up. Unfortunately got the goose egg

    • Carew

      It also doesnt help that he’s a Yankee…I think there is still some bad blood there

    • Dougy D

      It’s all in good fun. Don’t you think that if AJ Pierzynski was hitting in the home run derby at Wrigley he would be booed? Of course he would. Would it be classless? NO! It would be for fun. The royals fans got their money’s worth with that blank put up by Cano. He is a great player, but that doesn’t mean you can’t root against him. If you get offended by that, I kind of feel bad for you.

      ‘Relaux. My dad’s a television repairman. He’s got this killer set of tools. I can fix it…
      Yep, I can fix it.’

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Pierzynski is different.
        :)

    • Twinkletoez

      It wasn’t just that he didn’t pick him, it was the fact that he said he was going to and then did not. That is why the fans were upset.

  • daveyrosello

    Living in KC, I can tell you for a fact there are two teams the folks here despise: the White Sox and the Yankees. Lots of bad blood. The Cardinals are also disliked, but more out of sheer annoyance that they travel so well for the KC games.

    The Yankees hatred dates all the way back to the 60s, when the Yanks used the KC Athletics as their quasi-farm team, and Charlie O Finley was only too happy to oblige them. The Yankees treated KC like a bunch of punks, and older folks here have never forgot that.

    FWIW, there are a LOT of Cubs fans in KC, it’s easy for us to get along since we’re in different leagues and share common enemies in the Cards and WSox.

    • Carew

      KC does seem to be very similar to the cubs like you said. Thats probably why I can root for them haha

      • daveyrosello

        Not only is it easy to root for the Royals as a Cubs fan, but KC has the advantage here that Kaufmann is BY FAR the easiest ML stadium to get to for watching a game. So much different from Wrigley. You take one of two alternate I-70 exits, drive into the parking lot, walk into the stadium. And most games, you can simply buy your ticket right at the gate, short lines, mezzanine seats all under $30 apiece. Great way to watch ML baseball.

        • Carew

          Awesome. I definitely plan on goin there one of these days

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, KC fans my age and older must still hate the Yankees for the 1976, 1977 and 1978 playoffs. The Royals really should have won at least one of those, and the ways that the Yanks won a few of those games was absolutely galling.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I would add that I would still boo a Padre at Wrigley (or at Nats stadium) purely because of 1984. (In another few years, I might start flinging the contents of my Depends at them!)

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I feel bad my knowledge of baseball began around 1997-1998 when I was old enough to start really taking in the game and understanding and following the game. I’m 20 so I’m not that old but I grew up watching Sammy, Kerry, Grace. I feel bad, I should know more then general baseball facts from before my era.

  • João Lucas

    Is that Koyie Hill catching?

  • João Lucas

    Now get this: Paul Maholm has hit more home runs this season than Robinson Cano has in the Derby.

  • Drew7

    I never do this because I feel I’m always behind the 8-ball on this stuff, but just saw this link on a fangraphs article:

    http://mobile.minorleagueball.com/2012/7/2/3130761/top-120-prospect-list-for-2012-midseason-revision-update

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Am I a dick if I say that this was in a Bullet last week?

  • Mr.Boring

    So why is the home run derby limited to just guys that make the All-Star team? There are 25 guys in the MLB who could hit more ding dongs then McCutchen.

    And, why does HRD have to be a League thing? I want the best 8 thumpers and I don’t care who they play for.

    Home Run Derby should be about all players, not just All-Stars. How good would Adam Dunn be this year on a good night?

    I would like to see who is the fastest player in baseball. I would like to see who has the best outfield arm. Why can’t they figure out how to make more players and more teams involved with different skills on this night?

    Yeah, I like the homers, but get rid of the kids in the outfield and be ready for another competition of the players we want to see. There is more to baseball then cranking one 450ft.

    • chirogerg

      Simple. It’s not limited to all stars.

  • DEVO

    Is Lahair going to start the allstar game or is votto healthly?

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Votto is healthy enough to start at 1b

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