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SBD/July 15, 2014/Events and Attractions
Cespedes Goes Back-To-Back In Rain-Dampened HR Derby; Stanton Makes His Mark
Published July 15, 2014
STANTON THE MAIN HIGHLIGHT: In Miami, Manny Navarro noted Stanton "put on an epic display of power" last night, as his "mammoth blasts drew the biggest reactions from the crowd." Stanton said of the layoff between the first round and the semifinals, "It made a bigger difference than I thought it would. I kind of have to find something to do in that time, stay warm" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/15). The AP's Dave Campbell noted the Derby was "drawn out further by a new format," but the six home runs Stanton hit "were beauties." One landed in the "third deck above left field, about a half-dozen rows shy of the very top of the ballpark." Another ball "reached the second deck about the center field batter's eye, a place never touched by a ball during an actual game here" (AP, 7/15). In DC, Adam Kilgore notes the "graveyard dimensions" of Target Field made the event a "chore, a drag, calisthenics to be endured." It was an event "made to hate-watch, until it was redeemed" by Stanton. Kilgore: "Did you see the ball Stanton almost hit out of the ever-loving stadium? Or the way the reigning NL MVP, Andrew McCutchen, lost his mind when it happened?" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/15).
NOT AN EVENT FOR REAL FANS? SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch writes the more fans "care about Major League Baseball ... the more you hate the Home Run Derby." The event is the "lowest common denominator in baseball, and there's nothing a hardcore fan of anything -- baseball, music, food -- dislikes more than lowest common denominator fans." Leitch: "The Home Run Derby isn't for us. It's for them. And there are a lot more of them than there are of us" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 7/15).
ACTION DURING THE ACTION: The event again featured on-field tweeting and posting on Facebook from Derby participants and other All-Star players during the event, continuing an aggressive All-Star Game social media rollout now in its fourth year. The in-event player social media, in addition to components seen over the last several years, included a Twitter Mirror photo station set up at Target Field. The Home Run Derby also saw the introduction of the MLB.com Statcast, an online enhancement that combined a video stream of the event with MLBAM's ball-tracking technologies. Target Field is one of three MLB ballparks, along with Citi Field and Miller Park, where the tracking system is being deployed this season. Meanwhile, the Derby also was the first with a new presenting sponsorship from Gillette and the traditional gold balls at the end of player rounds were replaced with renamed “FlexBalls,” also the name of Gillette’s razors (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).