Results tagged ‘ Home Run Derby ’

Day 2 in the Big Apple – Game Day

7-15 All Star.jpgApparently there is an All-Star Game going on in New York. At least that’s what Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Mike Swanson (Swanee) keeps telling Around the Horn.

If you watched last night, the Home Run Derby was by all accounts, amazing. The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton didn’t get the memo that Yankee Stadium isn’t scheduled for demolition until this off season and started working on that last night, launching a total of 35 homers into the stands (this is an 8-mintue video) with several into the 3rd deck and one off Bank of America sign on the back wall of the stadium. Minnesota’s Justin Morneau edged him in the finals by a score of 5-3. The AL Central’s other entrant was impressive too, Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore didn’t make it out of the first round. Swanee was in charge of the AL Derby contestants and his other guy, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria hit three.

7-15 HR Derby.JPGSwanee had good seats for the show, sitting behind Chicago’s Joe Crede. That’s Hamilton at the plate during his historic first round. He broke Bobby Abreu’s 2005 record of 24 first rounder shots, with 28 last night.

Around the Horn is curious if Swanee’s neck is okay from craning his neck to watch all the shots Hamilton and Morneau, both lefties, hit to right field (they combined for 57 bombs during the competition).

If you were curious, the longest homer in the Majors this season (according to Hit Tracker Online) is 485 feet by Adam Dunn just last week on July 10th. That is not an official measurement but the estimated true or actual distance the home run would have flown if it had traveled all the way back to the field level.

If you check that site out, you’ll notice that John Buck owns the longest home run by standard distance at 478 feet, which is the same as true distance but factors out wind, temperature and altitude. Buck’s April 9th shot is also second on Hit Tracker’s charts for speed off bat, which estimates his homer came off the bat at 121.6 mph.

7-15 Fox.jpgToday, Swanee has been all over New York. FOX was setting up and rolling out the red carpet for the parade.

7-15 Radio City.jpgThe All-Star parade ran right past Radio City Music Hall. Swanee didn’t say if he stop7-15 Ben Aken.jpgped to see a show.

He did see Royals Director of Community Relations Ben Aken who’s in New York helping with some of the All-Star games charity work. In this picture he’s standing off to the side of the Boys and Girls Club.

 

7-15 Brett.jpgAnd he saw former Cubs’ star Mark Grace interviewing a Hall of Famer you should all recognize. And since we were talking homers in Yankee Stadium, George Brett is a very fitting choice for Grace to talk to.

Brett hit 17 regular season and five postseason homers in the “House that Ruth Built” and holds a lifetime .311 average there.

Royals fans won’t forget the “Pine Tar” Game or his homer in the 1980 playoffs.

7-15 Soria.jpgAnd lastly, but definitely not least, Swanee saw the All-Star Joakim Soria with his wife, Karla.

Again today. Big thanks to Swanee and we here at Around the Horn who are still in Kansas City hope he’s having a great time in New York.

He’s on AL Clubhouse duty tonight for the game. You can be close to the action too without even being in the Big Apple. FOX will have complete coverage of the game tonight which starts at 7 p.m. CT.

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All-Star Festivities

All-Star Soria.jpgThe Royals have three representatives at the All-Star game this week. Joakim Soria is the only player, but Director of Community Relations Ben Aken is helping Major League Baseball’s efforts to promote the game throughout New York. Hopefully we can get an update and maybe some photos from him as the week goes by.

The Royals other All-Star, Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Mike Swanson (Swanee) has already been plenty busy. But he’s taking pictures with his phone (he apologizes for the quality) and keeping tabs on Soria for all of us back here in Kansas City.

7-14 Presser 1.JPGThis morning, the All-Stars had a 50-minute “assembly-line” media session. Swanee said the players were just lined up in a conference room and media made stops at each table.

Soria was conducting interviews with everybody who came by and in as many languages as he could speak (Around the Horn is pretty sure that’s just two, English and his native tongue Spanish).

One note about his heritage, Soria is the only Mexican player on either All-Star roster. In fact there are only 15 Mexican players who have played in the Majors this season and just 103 to ever play in the Majors. In comparison, the Dominican Republic has fielded 115 players in 2008.

Soria is the most dominant Mexican pitcher of all-time (only pitchers with at least 10 appearances were considered). His current 2.09 ERA in 112 innings edges Cy Acosta, who held a 2.66 ERA over 186 innings from 1972-75. And his batting average against is a full 40 points lower than Jose Cecena who established a .213 average against in 22 games in 1988 (Acosta holds a .216 batting average against).   

7-14 Presser 2.JPGSwanee told Around the Horn that Soria was stationed between two popular stops, Carlos Quentin of the White Sox and the Yankees Mariano Rivera (he’s the cause of the glare from the lights in the picture). Quentin is currently second in the American League in home runs (22) and RBI (70).

While Rivera, one of three players representing the host team, is considered one of the greatest closers of all-time. He’s putting together another solid season this year, sixth in the A.L. in saves with 23 which happens to be one spot and two saves behind Soria who’s 5th and tied a Royals pre-All-Star break record with 25 saves.

7-14 Derby.jpgHome Run Derby Tonight
Swanee also reports that he’s in charge of the American League Home Run Derby players. He sent Around the Horn a photo from their press conference. Representing the league with the DH, will be four non-DH’s. Swanee should have an easy time with a pair of divisional opponents,  Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and Clevland’s Grady Sizemore, in the mix. The A.L. will also send the Ranger’s Josh Hamilton, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria to the plate. The National League will have Houston’s Lance Berkman, the Brewers’ Ryan Braun, the Marlin’s Dan Uggla and Philadelphia’s Chase Utley vying for the title.

7-14 HR Conf.jpgSwanee’s American League guys are featured in the photo, going from left to right Hamilton (in red), Longoria, Morneau and Sizemore. Angel’s slugger Vladimir Guerrero hit 17 homers last year in San Francisco to win it all. Around the Horn doesn’t have a favorite, but is just pulling for the American League to keep the title. The Derby starts at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN. For more coverage, go here.

Around the Horn hopes to deliver more All-Star coverage throughout the week, keeping in touch with our inside man in New York. Swanee, thanks for the photos.

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