2012 Home Run Derby
Prince Fielder takes the crown at the 2012 Home Run Derby.
KANSAS CITY -- The 2012 Home Run Derby, chock full of mammoth home runs, hometown fans booing a captain (this time the venom is directed at AL captain Robinson Cano for not selecting Kansas City's own Billy Butler) and lots of Chris Berman yelling.
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We'll be adding to this post throughout the competition, so feel free to hit "refresh" with seemingly reckless abandon.
• First up is Carlos Beltran, the former Royal. He makes three outs before hitting a 406-foot shot to get on the board. That shot was the first of three straight homers for Beltran. He would finish with seven homers, the longest of which being 436 feet.
• Next up, Jose Bautista, the major-league leader in home runs. He takes a few pitches before crushing one 425 feet. And he's on the board before making an out. Three consecutive outs then followed before a 424-foot shot gives him homer number two. He got hot late in the turn, as Bautista would hit six homers with only out remaining. When it was all said and done, he had hit 11. His longest: 439 feet.
• Now it's Carlos Gonzalez's turn. He also takes a few pitches and clubs a home run to start, 420 feet. Unfortunately, that wasn't foreshadowing. He made five straight outs before hitting another. Cargo would end with a mere four bombs, his best shot being 433 feet.
• Here comes Mark Trumbo. He made three outs -- and none were close to homers -- before crushing one 435 feet to get on the board. Two more outs were then followed by a 439-foot shot and then a fountain shot and another homer to center. Four homers, five outs. Trumbo would manage three more homers for a total of -- yes, math majors -- seven. His high distance was 439.
• Andrew McCutchen now steps to the plate. After making two quiet outs, Cutch goes 435 feet to get on the board (it would end up his longest homer of the night). He would make nine outs against just two home runs before putting one into a waterfall, and following with a shot into the bullpen. But that would be it, four homers for one of the nicest guys in the game.
• Now onto Prince Fielder. A weak ground ball started things off, but then Fielder went 426 feet into the right-field seats. He followed with a towering homer to the right-field bullpen. He then made an out before splashing one into the fountains -- a whopping 454-foot shot (the longest of the night so far). Fielder would only hit one more homer before running his out total to nine. He then splashed another ball into the fountain pool, 448 feet. He would end with five homers.
• Captain time. Matt Kemp digs in. Hopefully his hammy holds up. He starts with nine straight outs, including one off the very top of the wall in left field. Finally, mercifully, Kemp clears the center-field wall (420 feet) to get on the board. But that would be it. One home run for the NL captain.
• Robinson Cano will end the first round to a chorus of boos. He's the defending champion after putting on a show in Arizona last year with his Father pitching to him. Jose Cano is back, too. The crowd first greets Cano with chants of "Billy Butler." He makes an out and the crowd goes wild. And a second out. And a louder ovation. This is actually hilarious. On his third swing, Cano barely misses a bomb and the crowd goes crazy again, with Cano himself laughing. It's a sideshow at this point. A fourth out, a fifth out, a sixth out, a seventh out, an eighth out ... same story. Now Curtis Granderson calls time out -- evidently they have those in a Home Run Derby? -- for a conference on the mound with CC Sabathia and Jose Cano. And a ninth out, with the Kansas City crowd in all its glory. And Cano gets shut out. It's mostly cheers, but some are booing. And another Billy Butler chant. What an odd scene.
To the second round, it's Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran, Mark Trumbo and Prince Fielder. The only AL player to not advance was Cano, so I guess he picked a good team, eh Kansas City? The first-round tally:
• Prince Fielder leads off. With two outs and one home run, he goes nuts with a whopping 476-foot shot, the longest of the night so far. With four outs, Fielder hits his fourth, fifth and sixth homers -- his sixth being a 464-footer into the fountain pool again. He'd later add another fountain shot, 461 feet. And another, 458 feet. Wow. He now has 11 homers with only seven outs. He would end with 11, for a total of 16. He's in good shape to make the finals, but the low first-round total may cost him if either Trumbo or Beltran get hot. We'll see.
• It's Carlos Beltran up next. He starts with two outs before going yard, 421 feet. Through five outs, Beltran had two homers -- then he unleashed 454 feet into the fountain (furthest non-Prince Fielder bomb). With seven outs, Beltran then hit two straight, including a 459-footer into the fountain pool. He then made his eighth out, with five homers (12 total). He'll need to get hot to be in position to make the finals. Nope, that's it. Five homers, with 12 total. Beltran will need Bautista to lay an egg for a chance the finals.
• Next up, it's Mark Trumbo's turn. He needs 10 homers to clinch a spot. Less than five would eliminate him. He makes three outs before getting on the board. After a fourth out, Trumbo goes way deep, 465 feet. A fifth, sixth and seventh out, and Trumbo is in trouble, with only nine total homers. He then crushes one 457 feet, which is caught by a security guard (and followed by a fan falling over the railing, who thankfully appears to be OK). After out number eight, Trumbo goes 450 feet and then 448 feet. He's definitely packing the punch when he does get it. A 434-foot homer means Trumbo is safe for now and Beltran is eliminated. One more out, and Trumbo sits with six homers (13 total) and nine outs. And that'll do it. Trumbo is still alive, for now, and Prince Fielder has advanced to the finals. It looks like a Fielder-Bautista finale, assuming Bautista doesn't fall apart.
• Jose Bautista steps to the plate, needing two homers to tie Trumbo and three homers to clinch a spot in the finals alongside AL teammate Prince Fielder. Also, with Beltran gone, the AL is officially going to win this thing in a landslide (it's 40-21 now). Maybe there's hope for Trumbo? Bautista starts with five outs. Now six outs. And there it goes, 414 feet and he's on the board. And now 428 feet and a splash, tying Trumbo. Now a seventh out and a water break. Now an eighth out. And a ninth. Tiebreaker time? Yep. Bautista hits 11 in the first round and two in the second, so he'll move to a tiebreaker round against Trumbo.
Each player will get five swings, in a bit of a sudden death round, for the right to square off against Fielder.
Trumbo's five: Grounder, grounder, line drive, fly ball, home run.
If Bautista hits one, they'll get three more swings. If he hits two, he advances. If he doesn't hit any, it's Prince vs. Trumbo.
Bautista's five: Home run, home run. He'll move on.
It's Prince Fielder vs. Jose Bautista.
First up, Prince Fielder. Well, actually, first up is Kansas City hero George Brett to hold up the trophy the winner will receive. Cool moment for the home fans. OK, now it's on. Prince digs in. One swing, one 441-foot bomb. They'll get 10 outs this round again (my bad on the earlier mistake). Prince piles on a 476-foot blast, still with no outs. And now a third homer, with zero outs. He makes one out before hitting his fourth homer, and it's looking like this is Prince's night. And a fifth homer, again, with only one out. And a sixth. And a seventh. Understatement alert: He's locked in. Wow, home run number eight bounces out of the waterfall. And he still only has one swing where the ball didn't leave the yard. Fielder's second out is a rocket line drive that short-hops the wall. The third out is another line drive. Out number four very easily could have been a homer, as a fan couldn't corral it in an attempt to lean over and catch it in right-center. Fielder then hits numbers nine and 10 before making a fifth out. He'll finish with 12. Bautista has a tall order.
And here comes Jose Bautista. He needs a huge effort here to win it. Off to a good start. One swing, one homer. Two outs are then followed by Bautista's second homer. Outs number three and four, and Prince can start walking toward that trophy. Bautista does manage two more homers before his fifth out. He'll need eight homers in his final five outs to tie Fielder. A homer, an out, an out, a homer and Bautista now has six home runs and seven outs. Two more outs and Bautista is down to his final out, trailing Fielder by six home runs. He stays alive with a 427-foot shot. But that'll do it.
Champion: Prince Fielder
AL: 60 home runs.
NL: 21 home runs.
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