Photo courtesy of http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com
FLUSHING, N.Y.--- For the first time, baseball’s biggest boppers will ascend to Citi Field under the bright lights in the baseball mecca of New York City. The 29th installment of the Home Run Derby will take place on Monday evening at 8 p.m. and it promises to be a good one. The following is a list of tonight’s contestants along with the number of home runs they have hit so far this season in parentheses per Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated.com.
For the American League, experience is abundant. Prince Fielder is one of two players to win multiple Derbies. He won it in St. Louis in 2009, and last year in Kansas City hitting the fifth most homers ever in a Derby with 28. Cano also knows a thing or two about winning this event, taking home the crown two years ago at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. There, he blasted 32 home runs with his father José Cano pitching to him. Last year was a different story however as he hit zero home runs, much to the joy of booing Kansas City fans who were upset that Royal Billy Butler was left off of Cano’s Home Run Derby team.
Newcomers Cespedes and Davis should provide a sense of intrigue as it is their first time ever participating in the Derby. Especially in Davis’s case Orioles’ fans will definitely be rooting for him. According to a report from the Daily Fastball blog on DailySportsClub.com , for every home run that Davis hits, Field tickets for select games will be reduced by $1. The Athletics are offering a promotion as well in which for every home run Cepedes hits, $1 will be taken off Field level tickets for the July 26 game against the Angels.
For the National League, many new faces hope to shine bright under the glaring spotlight tonight. Bryce Harper after being All-Star last season will look to wow the crowds in his first-ever appearance in this spectacle. The same could be said for Pedro Alvarez, who after leading the surging Pirates to the second -best record in the National League (56-37) looks to provide a surge of his own and excite the crowd (and undoubtedly announcer Chris Berman). For Wright, this will be his first Derby since 2006 when All Star festivities were held at PNC Park home of the Pirates. That year, he hit 22 home runs in total, falling one short of winning the Derby. Much like the Orioles are doing with Davis, the Mets are also running a promotion in which if Wright wins the event, Mets tickets versus the rival Philadelphia Phillies will be 80% off per the Daily Fastball blog on DailySportsClub.com. As a result, there is a lot on the line tonight and it should be a good show no matter the outcome.
PREDICTION: I like Prince Fielder in this one. He has been here before, he knows what the Derby is all about, and he has two crowns to prove it. With that being said I think the hometown favorite Wright will put on a good show to the best of his ability, but in the end I think the 2013 Home Run Derby belongs to the Prince.