David Can’t Slay the Goliath

The lone New York representative in the 2006 Home Run Derby was fan-favorite David Wright. After an opening round onslaught of sixteen home runs, Wright was only able to hit six more homers throughout the course of the next two rounds, and eventually fell to the Phillies’ Ryan Howard 5-4 in the finals. Thankfully for the Mets, this will be the only time this season that the Phillies will win anything. Sitting 12 games back of the division-leading Mets, the Philly Faithful may not have much to look back upon this season, except for Ryan Howard’s home run derby title. It’s back to reality for Howard and the Phillies come Thursday, but at least for a day, they are the champs.

Howard made a big push to get into the final round, hitting 10 homers in the second round for a two-round total of 18, which tied Wright and beat David Ortiz and Miguel Cabrera. Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Howard was one of three players to knock a ball on a fly into the Allegheny River. Howard seems like he’ll be one of the great sluggers in the league for a long time to come, as he has notched 28 home runs through the All Star break. Even though his team may be grossly underachieving, at least Howard and teammate Bobby Abreu can take solace in the fact that they have won the last two home run derbies.

Although David Wright did not win, he did have a memorable experience at PNC Park. Wright’s 16 home runs in the first round were the third most of any round in the derby’s 21-year history, although that was eight fewer than Bobby Abreu’s record-breaking 24 last year in Detroit. Wright was able to savor the experience with catcher Paul Lo Duca, as Wright selected Lo Duca to pitch for him. It was the first time in derby history that a player selected a fellow All Star, and teammate, to throw for him in the home run derby.

Tomorrow we have the AL/NL All Star Game, where the NL looks to end the American League dominance over the past decade or so. I’m kind of nervous about Kenny Rogers getting the start for the American League, as I think even an inferior NL batting lineup will knock him around pretty well. I’m looking for the NL to take an early lead against the AL, but the American Leaguers will eventually pull away in the middle and later innings.


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