7:57 Should I be amused that ESPN is using the beat to "California Love" as the promo music for the Home Run Derby, or consider that an official sign the classic 90's hip-hop song has officially jumped the shark??
Similarly, would Donnie Moore just want to be remembered, or would he bristle at the repeat, one more time, of the obvious oversimplification that his demise was directly attributable to Hendu's home run in 1986?
8 pm Opening Band. Now's a good time to get a sandwich.
I saw Train once at a club, opening for Better Than Ezra. I don't even think I'm cool for making that statement. In fact, the only reason I'm telling you this is because I think they should be more ashamed than I am.
8:06 This lineup for the Home Run Derby is better than previous years -- anybody remember the "International Edition" a few years ago?
Big boos for Swisher and Papi from the populist, small-market, anti-commercialist Anaheim / Los Angeles population. Fight the power, guys!
8:08 I had to rewind my DVR to make sure I heard what I thought I heard. Yep. "Jose Ortiz," followed by a shot of DAVID Ortiz in the dugout. I'm sorry, but that is just the worst thing ever. Worse than even "Manny Ortez", since Barry-- I mean, Bobby Valentine's job right now is to be a SPORTS COMMENTATOR, not a US Senator. Mind-blowing. Unbelievable. You sure you didn't mean to pick David Jeter? He's in this Derby, right?
8:13 Still not over this. You know you look effing dumb when Joe Morgan is sitting right next to you and you still manage to look dumber.
8:18 First homer hit by Chris Young. Second ball swung on but doesn't go out of the park. Ball shagger in LF takes a page out of the Manny Ramirez Outfield Technique playbook. Epic, nationally televised miss. Hi Mom!
8:20 Chris Young is already on the Gold Ball, and comes away from Round One with a grand total of one homer, on the first pitch. I would make some snarky comment about the National League here, but he got to bring his own pitcher.
8:23 Vernon Wells up. After three outs, he just gets one over the wall. Maybe he should've given his pitcher a Red Sox cap to wear.
8:24 I am now more interested in whether any of those kids is going to catch a fly ball tonight than what's going on at the plate.
8:25 Inaugural "backbackbackbackbackback" of the 2010 All-Star Game.
Vernon comes away with two homers in the first round. What was that I was saying about this lineup?
8:30 For the record, I would not eat something that purported to be a "meal" and costs $2, and ESPECIALLY not from Denny's.
Love from Torii Hunter for David Ortiz. Suck it, Angels fans. Cory Hart up.
8:31 Berman getting all of the possible puns on Hart's name out of the way in the first round. I hope.
8:32 Berman now switching to puns on Hart's hometown of Bowling Green. "He's bowling them out of here." Except...that doesn't make any...sigh. Not worth it.
8:33 A-Rod looks like he just woke up out of a coma and has no idea who he is or what he's doing here, standing on a baseball field. Is there a reason we had to see him just now?
8:34 Hart hits a BOMB to straightaway center. 464 feet. Now that was a blast. Followed by another. And another. This is the reason we watch this thing.
8:35 Another homer for Hart. Brian Cashman is on the phone as we speak.
8:38 In other news, Cory Hart is reportedly in a facial-hair contest with Dan Haren to see who can look more like a homeless stoner Jesus.
8:40 Despite his utter irrelevance tonight, A-Rod's endearing personality has earned him a live interview during the Home Run Derby.
I know it's not Nick Swisher's fault people voted him in over Youkilis. I know this. And yet I'm praying for a meteor to strike his giddy, giggling face at the plate right now.
8:44 A-Rod is still talking. Luckily I can draw on years of watching games with Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth to help me block him out.
8:46 Commercial break mercifully ends those Yankees-filled minutes of my life I'll never get back.
8:52 The ball just rumbled right up the seam through a collapsing defensive line of children. Matt Holliday up. An out on his first swing. Joe Morgan: "Well, he's starting out well." I would rather Train was providing the soundtrack here.
8:53 A-Rod interview: 6 interminable minutes. Albert Pujols interview: less than one minute. Somebody help me out with this.
8:54 I like Holliday's swing when he knows he's connected -- he spins almost all the way around.
9:00 Here's Papi. First we have to go over his slumps the last two Aprils. Sigh.
Unexpected pleasant detail -- the camera's so close you can hear the Velcro on David's shiny new red batting gloves.
9:01 First homer for Papi. One out. Pedroia with a Flip cam on the sidelines. Squee.
Second homer -- the sound off Papi's bat is still like none other. WHACK. You know before you even see it it's gone.
9:03 Homer #4 for Papi. Four outs.
9:04 Are you serious, Joe Morgan? You're talking about the goddamn Ba--- D'ANGELO ORTIZ. IN FULL UNI. ON THE SIDELINE. If you'll excuse me, I need to go drop dead of the cute.
9:05 Papi's hitting wrappers around that right field foul pole. Up to 6 now on 6 outs.
9:06 Another mighty CRACK. Another shot of D'Angelo gaping at the field. Definitely the most enjoyable part of the evening for me so far.
9:07 Eight homers. Seven outs. Papi spits and claps. There goes the Velcro. Laughing, smiling, yelling in Spanish to the sidelines. Remember this next April.
9:08 The word Papi just said, which Joe Morgan repeated and laughed at on live national television in a country in which Spanish is the second most widely-spoken language, is not a word they would air on ESPN Deportes. Just FYI.
9:12 At first I thought Bobby Valentine was talking about being drunk on air, then I looked up and realized it was Will Farrell.
9:13 Somebody just brought up Will Farrell's Harry Caray impression. I have an idea for next year's Derby host lineup.
9:15 Thought that Hanley shot had a chance to go over everything.That was impressive, but I don't want him going ahead of Ortiz. I don't know why. I just don't.
9:16 Never mind, Ramirez and Papi are now tied.
And now Ramirez is ahead. This is where Bob Lobel would ask, why can't we get players like that?
9:19 God help me, I still think Andy Pettitte is good-looking, even in his awkward, dorky prom photo on a Dove commercial.
9:25 It hit a sign on its way out, but Miguel Cabrera just pretty much went over everything.
9:26 Papi interview with Erin Andrews. I can't understand a word he's saying so far with all the noise and because he keeps getting distracted by the homers, but I still want to hug him.
9:27 Mentions of Papi's slump now up to three for this broadcast.
9:29 Cabrera hasn't hit like Cory Hart so far, but when he goes yard, it's gone for good.
ROUND THE SECOND!!
9:37 Papi's up first. Another no-doubter to right center. Followed by another to right. I love that flourish at the end of his swing when he knows it's out.
9:38 Berman is running out of nearby locations in California to call out as destinations for the ball.
9:39 Another one around the right field foul pole. Followed by another to right field. 15 homers for Papi, only two outs in this round. And ANOTHER to essentially the same spot. Shift THIS.
9:40 Papi's now hit at least three in a row within a few seats of each other in that bleacher section in right center. Torii Hunter grinning on the sidelines. 17 total for Papi now. Where's Pedroia?
9:42 Hey Science of Baseball guy, I want to see a spray map of where Papi's homers have landed this round. I bet they'd all be within one seating section of each other. Two at the most. 20 his total now.
9:44 21. Papi looks down at the plate between pitches, his ear-bling glinting. There's just something so heartwarming about him, always.
A popup, and Papi's out for this round. He hugs Hanley Ramirez and heads out. Whether he wins or not, I think it's established, in front of the whole league, that he can definitely still hit for power. Not that it's really going to shut up any of the nattering nabobs of negativism, of course.
9:47 Miguel Cabrera up. I don't know who they're interviewing on the sidelines or what they're talking about. Uh, thanks, Tim McCarver?
9:48 It might be nice for them to tell us who the bashful little girl is that they just showed on the sideline. Cabrera's kid? But apparently that would mean actually calling the actual sporting event.
9:50 So, apparently, would noting that Papi hit as many homers in the second round as Hart did in the first -- 13.
9:51 For those of you keeping score at home, the ball-shagging kids remain oh-fer.
9:52 And no sooner do I say that than we get our first outfield catch of the day. Sign that kid up!
9:53 Cabrera is eliminated -- Hart is already ahead of him and he hasn't hit yet. He'll have to console himself with a chance at the Triple Crown this season.
9:57 Is it just me, or does Hanley Ramirez drag his feet in a really odd way when he walks? At least, just now he did.
9:59 Ramirez looked like he didn't even look at where the ball was going on that last swing. And yet, KA-POW. Out in dead center. Ramirez is now up to 12.
10:01 A-Rod still got more airtime than anybody else. I wish to register a complaint.
10:02 Ramirez up to 17 with 8 outs in the second round.
10:03 Berman's best call of the night so far: "YIKES!!" on Ramirez gold-ball bomb. No. 18. No. 19 barely stays fair.
10:05 Another one to left center for Ramirez. Breathing down Papi's neck now.
10:06 Papi stands and claps for Ramirez, who just tied him for 21. If Cory Hart goes ballistic again this round, we'll have a swing-off between Ramirez and Ortiz.
10:09 Hart's got 3 outs, no homers. Make that four.
10:10 Six outs for Hart. Seven. And another egregious miss on the warning track.
Eight outs. Nine. Gold ball already for Hart without one homer this round.
10:12 Red Sox vs. Former Red Sox in the final round. Ortiz is going to his first Derby final round ever and is tied with the young whippersnapper at 21 bombs.
10:16 Have concluded re "California Love" that yes, Tupac is probably rolling over in his grave.
10:17 Morgan pointedly says "Bobby's got David." You gotta get your shots in where you can, Joe.
10:18 Now I REALLY want to see that spray map. All three homers this round hit to right center, too. They're discussing the slump again. Mentions now at four. More than there were rounds.
10:19 Five homers. One out for Papi. That's what's up.
10:20 In the time it took me to type that, he added three more.
10:21 I think Papi's thrown too many tantrums at umpires in Anaheim to "win over the fans" here, as Berman suggests.
10:22 What looked for sure like homer No. 9 was just shy of the wall. Five outs.
10:25 Gold Ball for Ortiz with 10 homers this round.
Make that 11. Tying the last-round record.
10:26 No matter what happens here, I am bursting with pride for Papi. And no, though this point has been beaten into the ground, nobody would've expected this even two months ago.
10:31 Ramirez hits his first homer with two outs in the final round.
10:32 Four outs. Two homers.
10:33 Nice camera work by ESPN, showing Ramirez watch his ball drop into the rock pile in the distance.
10:34 Ramirez now has four homers, four outs.
10:35 A screaming liner to left for the fifth out. I can hardly stand it. I have never cared about the Home Run Derby this much, ever.
10:36 Papi towels off Hanley's face and hugs him. Seven outs, four homers. Umpire tantrums aside, I really don't understand how you boo this man, even if you hate the Red Sox.
10:37 8 outs. D'Angelo whispers in Papi's ear on the sidelines. Homer Number 5 for Ramirez.
10:38 BIG PAPI WINS!!!!!!!!!!
10:40 I leave you with these words from my liveblog of the 2006 Derby, which I keep coming back to when it comes to Ortiz.
That sound off Ortiz's bat--that ringing, meaty THWACK--and the way the ball goes tailing off into orbit while he stands and watches, a great dark figure under the stadium lights...there's something so sublime about David Ortiz, his happiness, his booming power, his unfailing interior light. People talk (at least half-jokingly) about Albert Pujols being divine, but I think that if God chose to incarnate himself as ballplayer, it's a pretty safe bet he'd be this one.
Tonight, he showed he's still got it, in more ways than one.