Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Kauffman Stadium hosts the Home Run Derby tonight.
As was the case last summer in Phoenix, each league's captain got to select three fellow home run hitters. So Cano chose Fielder, Bautista and Mark Trumbo. Matt Kemp's NL teammates are Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran and Andrew McCutchen.
All the other All-Stars will be watching from foul territory, and I'm sure we'll see plenty of shots of Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez enjoying the festivities. I'll have some thoughts along the way myself while I also finish up my full article on the first-place Nationals' invasion of the Midsummer Classic. Enjoy...
2012 HOME RUN DERBY
Where: Kauffman Stadium
Gametime: 8 p.m. EDT
Radio: ESPN-980 AM, XM 176
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from CF
Matt Kemp (LAD)
Andrew McCutchen (Pit)
Carlos Beltran (Stl)
Carlos Gonzalez (Col)
Robinson Cano (NYY)
Prince Fielder (Det)
Mark Trumbo (LAA)
Jose Bautista (Tor)
8:15 p.m. -- Hey, we're finally underway with Carlos Beltran at the plate.
8:22 p.m. -- Beltran got off to a slow start, but he finished strong and wound up with seven homers. Got a nice ovation from the Kansas City crowd, which recalls when he used to play here a lifetime ago.
8:32 p.m. -- Good lord, can Jose Bautista pull a baseball 430 feet down the left-field line like nobody's business. The Blue Jays slugger peppered the area behind the left-field bullpen, winding up with 11 home runs to take the early lead here.
8:44 p.m. -- Only four homers from Carlos Gonzalez in the first round, his longest shot going a mere 433 feet to deep right-center. For those keeping track of such things, the NL and AL are tied with 11 homers apiece (though Bautista is the only AL player to hit so far).
8:52 p.m. -- Mark Trumbo, the Angels' young slugger, looked a little nervous when he stepped to the plate. But then he got warmed up and look out below! He nearly put one on the roof of the Royals Hall of Fame in left field. Wound up with seven homers in total, tying him with Beltran for second place so far in the competition.
9:03 p.m. -- Andrew McCutchen is a fantastic ballplayer. That doesn't always translate into success in the Home Run Derby, however. Making his first appearance in this event, the Pirates center fielder needed a late surge just to finish with four. Unless the remaining three competitors really spit the bit, McCutchen will be watching the second round from the sidelines.
9:15 p.m. -- Prince Fielder only hit five homers, but he did provide the longest blast of the night so far, a 454-foot bomb. And those five homers may just be enough to squeak into the second round.
9:25 p.m. -- They'll definitely be enough to squeak into at least a tiebreaker after Matt Kemp was nearly shutout before finally homering once he was down to his final out. I have to say, I was surprised Kemp participated in the event when he's not going to play tomorrow night because of injury. Not surprising he was rusty at the plate. So we're down to only Robinson Cano, who needs five homers to tie Fielder or six to advance.
9:34 p.m. -- WOW, Cano is blanked. And nobody's happier about that the Kansas City fans who booed the Yankee every chance they got because he didn't put the Royals' Billy Butler in the Derby. That was pretty wild. And silly, too. New rule: At least one player from the host team must be in the Derby. Last time I checked, this thing was supposed to be for the fans, right? So your final four is: Bautista (11), Beltran (7), Trumbo (7) and Fielder (5). And all homers from the first round carry over.
9:49 p.m. -- Fielder was up first in the second round and started depositing balls into the fountain way behind the right-center field fence. He wound up with 11 home runs in this round, which added to his five from earlier gives him 16 total. Set a nice bar for the others to try to surpass.
9:57 p.m. -- Beltran adds five homers to his earlier total, giving him 12 in all. That means Bautista needs only two in his second round to surpass Beltran.
10:09 p.m. -- This Mark Trumbo guy appears to be legit, huh? Sweet Fancy Moses, he's got some power in that bat of his. With six more homers (nearly all of them moonshots) he eliminated Beltran. So that leaves only Bautista, who needs three to advance to the finals against Fielder.
10:16 p.m. -- And we've got a swing-off between Bautista (who managed only two homers there) and Trumbo. High drama here.
10:25 p.m. -- It'll be Fielder and Bautista, a couple of AL sluggers going head-to-head.
10:37 p.m. -- This just in: Prince Fielder is good at hitting home runs. Twelve of them in the final round, setting a high bar for Bautista. Meanwhile, Teddy Roosevelt is about to run in a giant-headed mascot race with a sausage, a pierogie and giant Randy Johnson. This will be more entertaining than anything else that has happened over the last 2 1/2 hours.
10:42 p.m. -- Hey, what do you know? Teddy was about to win the race, only to stop dead in his tracks, turn around and bodyslam the sausage. NEVER saw that one coming...
10:50 p.m. -- It's over! It's all over! Prince Fielder wins it, 12-7. Not exactly the most exciting Home Run Derby ever. Maybe next year at Citi Field when Bryce Harper is in it...