Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts about a Bronx Derby

The media over-saturation of addict-turned-baseball god Josh Hamilton reached a tipping point with his incredible performance in last night's Home Run Derby. His 28 homers in Round 1 shook the Bronx as he launched balls into territory never-before-chartered in game action.

With A-Rod sitting out the festivities due to his inability to be anything but unlikable, Hamilton made the Derby a memorable one, even if Justin Morneau ended up taking the title. As an aside, this is now the second award in three years Morneau didn't deserve, joining his bogus MVP win over Jeter in 2006. So yeah, congrats on that.

ESPN continued to be insufferable in every way, with Rick Reilly bravely calling out MLB for having eight white guys in the Derby (what a spineless douche) and Joe Morgan incorrectly judging the trajectory of about 20 home run balls (didn't he play in the Majors for like 15 years?). On the plus side, they've officially muzzled Chris Berman, even if it wasn't really their choice. If you noticed, the obnoxious "Back, back, back" and play-on-words nickname shtick was mercifully toned down. This is clearly a product of the rise of sports blogs -- specifically Deadspin -- which has gamely served the public by making "The Worldwide Leader" accountable for its inane bullshit. We're still subject to insipid crap like "Titletown USA" and the infamous "Who's hot?" campaign of 2007, but you get the feeling ESPN is officially on its toes, like the school bully who suddenly has someone his same size watching him from a distance. What the blog world lacks in ESPN's financial clot, it makes up for in its ability to raise the public consciousness, a fact that clearly has Disney Sports on notice.

I didn't watch the Celebrity Softball Challenge, only because I may have to shoot Billy Crystal in the chest if I see him try to ingratiate himself to the Yankees one more time. Let it go, Billy. Maria Menudos is super foxy, but there wasn't enough eye candy on the bill to make me tune in. That reminds me, I do give ESPN kudos for the existence of Erin Andrews. She literally makes my life better.

I couldn't quite decide if the Derby would have been a fun event to attend in person. I suppose if you were in the bleachers or the middle to low sections of the upper deck in right you had a good time. But there seemed to be an awful amount of downtime as well, and everything after Hamilton's explosion seemed to be a anti-climatic. And boo to MLB for its ridiculous corporate whoring with the "Call Your Shot" promotion, which grinded the entire event to a halt prior to the finals. Talk about sucking the life out of a joint.

Overall though, I did enjoy the event. I loved watching the upper deck and bleachers get assaulted, I loved the NYPD cop straight up choking a dude who ran into The Black to retrieve a home run ball, I loved the hot mike catching Chase Utley's valley girl reaction to being jeered during introductions ("Boo? Fuuuuck youuu!"), I loved the Stadium crowd booing Ortiz when he casually walked his fat ass toward the home dugout, I loved Morneau awkwardly getting blown off in favor of Hamilton by Erin Andrews after the final round. Oh yeah, and I loved Erin Andrews.

Did I mention that already? Oh well.

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