Home Run Derby X – London

The inaugural Home Run Derby X took place in London this afternoon. I had seen some vague references to it over the past week, though nothing that caught my attention to the point of thinking that I needed or wanted to watch it. However, as I sat in my living room hiding from the heat wave that has been pummeling the Midwest for far longer than should be necessary, I stumbled upon the final of the Home Run Derby X streaming on YouTube.

I figured, what the hell, why not put it on? I let the stream run and took a moment every now and then to pause my activities to see what was going on.

Honestly? It was weird. The final of the competition featured the “Yankees” vs. the “Red Sox” (go figure). Representing the MLB for the Red Sox was Jonny Gomes. On the Yankees side, the MLB rep was Nick Swisher. From what I’ve been able to find, every team in the tournament features an individual from four different backgrounds:

  • MLB legend (in this case, Gomes and Swisher)
  • Superstar: Players who hail from the world of softball and women’s baseball.
  • Rookie: Players from the men’s baseball development system
  • Wild Card: “Influential content creators.”

I never managed to get a full handle on the rules, but based on what I was able to gather, teams can earn points not just for home runs, but also for defensive plays. Bonus points could be earned for hitting a particular target or by hitting a home run with an orange baseball. In general, the whole event felt more like a giant arcade game featuring real people, rather than an MLB event. And, in keeping with the stereotypes, the Yankees won the competition.

I won’t say that I hated it. Maybe if I had taken the time to really watch it and get an understanding of the rules and the scoring, it might have captured my interest better. I will say that I am thrilled that the event also features female athletes, because girls can play ball, too. It just seemed like a strange way to try to promote Major League Baseball in other countries.

Speaking of other countries, today’s exhibition apparently is not the only instance of the Home Run Derby X to take place this year. Upcoming competitions will take place on September 17th in Seoul, South Korea and on October 15th in Mexico City.

If you’re interested, you can watch the stream from today’s final in London below:

RIP Jeremy Giambi

Jeremy Giambi wasn’t exactly a standout player in MLB. If anything, he generally seemed to be playing in the shadow of his older brother, Jason. However, Jeremy Giambi began his Major League career with the Kansas City Royals, just a few years after I first became a Royals fan and began to really pay attention to them, so the news of his death — especially at such a young age — caught my attention.

Besides the Royals, Giambi played with the Oakland A’s, Philadelphia Phillies, and Boston Red Sox during his 6-year MLB career. He finished his career with a .263 batting average, 52 home runs, and 209 RBIs. Giambi was also portrayed in the film and book versions of Moneyball.

Giambi died last night, February 9, 2022, at the age of 47.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

“A Fisherman’s Tale,” Anonymous

This piece was published in 1942 and it references Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. In the novella, the main character, Santiago, idolizes DiMaggio and is a big Yankees fan. To Santiago, DiMaggio represents an ideal, and he compares himself against the ballplayer as a way to measure his own success and worth.

*

Ernest
Hemingway
Immortalized
Joe
DiMaggio
and
Joe
DiMaggio
Immortalized
Himself
And
So
Did
Ted Williams
that wonderful slugger from Boston.

Quote of the day

I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won’t matter if I get this guy out.

~Bill “Spaceman” Lee

Bill-Lee-Space

“Tiant’s Apprentice,” by Denise Newbolt

I enjoy the imagery presented in this piece. The metaphor comparing a pitcher to a dancer can be a good one, especially with some pitchers, like Luis Tiant, who have some rather elaborate windups.

*

Clear August sunlight spotlighted the dancer
he twirled in the style of Tiant           
technical in spin, placed practiced choreography. 

A white ball, laced red with a season’s skill and hope,
hurled to the stanched batter,
who would nick it to the dirt

In his 7th inning finale
a foul, a strike released in a summer’s era,
the spiraling pitcher spun to a season’s final ovation,
in late afternoon shadows.