Back back back back back back back back back back back back back to the well with another running diary because what else am I going to write about during the worst sports week of the year!? What else am I going to write about right now? The Philadelphia 76ers NBA summer league (tempting), the frightening ineptitude of Jake Arrieta and his bone spurry elbow (too depressing), or the Flyers?! THE FLYERS?! I think not.
Let’s see who can hit the most dingers in the second most worthless exhibition that will be played this week as I waste nearly three hours of my life watching the 2019 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby.
8 p.m. – Bob Eucker opens the festivities. If he could just do all his lines from “Major League” for the rest of the night that would be better than the planned ESPN broadcast. Thanks.
8:01 p.m. – Karl Ravech and his totally not a toupee and absolutely natural hair welcomes us to lovely Cleveland, Ohio for the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby! What a historic event. Who could ever forget when Dave Parker slugged six home runs in the first ever T-Mobile Home Run Derby in 1985? Unforgettable. Mark Teixeira and his wet ham personality joins the broadcast and is immediately tuned out by the entire viewing audience.
8:03 p.m. – Something called DJ Irene is pretending to play music in centerfield as the night’s entrants are announced. Let’s meet the 2019 candidates who will fuck up their swings for the rest of the season to win bragging rights for an outdated exhibition that nobody cares about.
#1 seed Matt Chapman (21 home runs) – A last minute replacement for the #1 overall seed Christian Yelich. A third baseman for the Oakland A’s, Chapman apparently plays professional baseball while he’s not selling awful used cars for Chapman Ford in the offseason.
#2 seed Pete Alonso (30 home runs) – Pete “The Polar Bear” Alonso, a rookie for the New York Mets, has mashed 30 home runs so far this season and is eager to see how his very promising career will be derailed by his franchise.
#3 seed Josh Bell (27 home runs) – An outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates and apparently not the former co-star of the Teen Nick sitcom smash “Drake and Josh.”
#4 seed Alex Bregman (23 home runs) – A third baseman for the Houston Astros and official workhorse for the Coggin Toboggan, who bet $10 on him to win at +850. Real good guy, nothing but great things to say about this exciting young man. Salt of the earth.
#5 seed Joc Pederson (20 home runs) – Outfielder and first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers with the most infuriating first name of any of the competitors. Joc. JOC. Fucking gross. He shall be known as JP for the rest of the proceedings.
#6 Ronald Acuna Jr. (21 home runs) – Some loser for the Atlanta Braves. BOOOOOOOO.
#7 Carlos Santana (19 home runs) – Phillies legend Carlos Santana. Immediately resurrected his career after losing all athletic ability playing one year for Philadelphia. Sounds about right.
#8 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (8 home runs) – Third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays. Rumor has it his dad actually played a little professional baseball. That’s crazy, I can’t believe the media has never mentioned that before.
8:10 p.m. – Bryce Harper was invited right? He’s an All-Star, isn’t he? I’m sure he’s just late.
8:14 p.m. – Marly Rivera interviews Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who may or may not have a father who played professional baseball.
8:20 p.m. – The first match-up of the night features JP against our boy Bregman. Pederson hits 21 home runs and I can taste that $10 just slipping away. GOD DAMNIT, JP, I GOT KIDS. Most of his home runs only went one or two rows deep into the outfield. Should be disqualified.
8:25 p.m. – Trying to convince my wife that if a ball hits one of the kids shagging fly balls in the head and goes over the fence it counts as two. She is not convinced.
8:27 p.m. – Dear God it’s a rocky start for our boy Bregman. One home run in the first 30 seconds. PICK IT UP. It’s a home run derby, not a line drive derby, THIS IS NOT THE TIME OR THE PLACE TO SHOW OFF YOUR LEVEL SWING. UPPERCUT THE SHIT OUT OF IT AND LET’S GO.
8:28 p.m. – Bregman has hit 6 in a minute and a half and takes a timeout.
8:30 p.m. – He keeps hitting the very top of the left field wall. Is that wall regulation height or what?!
8:31 p.m. – Pathetic. HIT ONE OFF THE KIDS AND HOPE IT GOES OVER, THAT COUNTS AS TWO.
8:32 p.m. – 16 home runs and he’s out. Christ. Mark Texeira: “If I’m going to teach my kids how to swing, I’m showing them Alex Bregman’s swing.” Shut up Mark. JP moves on and I wish I didn’t have to watch the rest of this.
8:33 p.m. – Guerrero Jr. vs. Chapman up next. Guerrero Jr. is the youngest player to ever participate in a home run derby and he promptly hits a scorching grounder to third… and then a 462 foot home run to dead center.
8:35 p.m. – What kind of waivers does MLB make these kids’ parents sign before letting them go out to the outfield to try to catch 110 MPH juiced ball rockets?
“Sign here, initial here, sign here again…this waives us from all liability if your child has his skull caved in after losing a ball in the lights. Good news though, if your child does slip into a coma we’ll give you 20% off all purchases from the official MLB merchandise store for all purchase of $100 or more.”
8:40 p.m. – Good lord. He hit 29 home runs. Tied Josh Hamilton for most in a round ever. I will say he hit a few before they actually landed, a clear violation of home run derby rules. I expect MLB officials to announce his disqualification shortly.
8:43 p.m. – Matt “thanks for coming out” Chapman is up next. His dad is pitching to him. Knowing my dad he would have yelled at me for “not keeping my hands low and my head down on the swing” and I would have stormed off the field in tears after hurling my bat at him like I was 10-years-old again. Good times!
8:45 p.m. – I’ll be the first to say it; we’re all just watching this to see one of the kids get scorched off the dome, aren’t we? Half of them aren’t even paying attention to the action. FOCUS.
8:46 p.m. – Chapman’s dad keeps throwing balls outside of the zone and up by his head, JUST LOB IT OVER THE PLATE, JESUS CHRIST. The only explanation for his poor pitching performance is he’s been playing the long con, waiting years before he had the opportunity to publicly humiliate his son in front of millions of fans on a national stage. Mission completed.
8:47 p.m. – His dad cannot throw a strike and looks completely gassed. Chapman has 13 home runs with 30 bonus seconds left to hit 17 more for the win. His dad promptly throws two balls to start things off. Something tells me his invitation to the next Oakland A’s father/son weekend is going to be conveniently lost in the mail. Guerrero moves on.
8:53 p.m. – Tracy Morgan is apparently hosting the ESPYs this year. Oh boy, I can’t wait to hear him read three hours of canned sports jokes off a teleprompter with the same amount of energy as John Kruk when his blood sugar dips.
8:57 p.m. – Ronald Acuna Jr. vs. Josh Bell next. Sadly, Acuna Jr. has a great swing and it will be extraordinarily depressing to see him blast a 600-foot home run off of Vince Velasquez on Sept. 1 to officially eliminate the Phillies from postseason contention.
9:03 p.m. – Acuna Jr. smashes 24 home runs off of Phillies great Tomas Perez, proving once and for all that if you want to hit as many home runs as possible you just need to face Phillies pitching.
9:04 p.m. – I’m already tired of people making the Phillies pitching joke on Twitter. Alright we get it:
I'd be the betting favorite in the Home Run Derby tonight if I announced I was flying Jerad Eickhoff in to throw to me.
— CogginToboggan (@CogginToboggan) July 8, 2019
This guy made the same recycled joke last year. What a tool:
If Rhys Hoskins brought Hector Neris to pitch to him he would have hit 50 home runs.
— CogginToboggan (@CogginToboggan) July 17, 2018
9:06 p.m. – Betting favorite Josh Bell hit four home runs in a minute and a half. Feel sorry for all the people who bet on this loser and will be out of the derby after the first round. Couldn’t imagine making such a poor bet.
9:10 p.m. – Mark Teixeira: “You really need the person throwing you the balls to put them in the same place every time to get into a rhythm.” Wow, thanks Mark. Should the hitters also try to put the balls over the fence for them to count as a home run?
9:13 p.m. – Bell hits 18 home runs and is eliminated, proving once and for all that nothing good ever comes out of Pittsburgh.
9:15 p.m. – Carlos Santana is up next vs. Pete Alonso. At the All-Star break last year, Santana was hitting .209 with 14 HRs and a .747 OPS. This year, Santana is your starting AL All-Star cleanup hitter and is smashing .297 with 19 HRs and a .958 OPS. Fuck my life!
9:18 p.m. – Santana promptly shits the bed and only hits 12 home runs, the lowest in the derby so far. That’s a shame. A damned shame. Somewhere Gabe Kapler is fist pumping in a dimly lit basement as he knocks out another 5,000 angry crunches under a bare light bulb.
9:19 p.m. – Watching Santana hit in the derby and be elected to his first All-Star team was worse than listening to Ben Davis last year opine on the extraordinary value of Santana’s ability to take a walk while hitting .229 for the entire season.
9:22 p.m. – Pete “The Polar Bear” Alonso is up next. He’s nicknamed the Polar Bear because he bought a pair of illegal polar bear skin batting gloves off the Dark Web, which he attributes to his great success.
9:25 p.m. – Alonso is letting history’s greatest monster off the hook so far after only hitting six home runs in 2:30.
9:27 p.m. – “That just hit the scoreboard” Teixeira mentions for a home run that comes about 20 rows short of the scoreboard.
9:28 p.m. – Alonso! Alonso! Alonso! 14 home runs to send Santana packing, HUMILIATING Carlos in front of his friends and family. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?! YES!
9:29 p.m. – As is tradition, Santana must now eat a mouthful of Chris Berman’s wispy skullet hair for hitting the least amount of home runs in a round. Rules are rules, sorry Carlos.
9:34 p.m. – Disappointed ESPN hasn’t trotted out the bloated gin corpse of Chris Berman to give us one epic BACK BACK BACK BACK BACK before banishing him back to the extra-large cryotherapy chamber he spends 360 days a year in.
9:36 p.m. – Guerrero Jr. vs. JP in the semis. Christ, I’m already bored with this. Just bring back the MTV Rock and Jock Softball game instead of this nonsense. Who else remembers when Frank Thomas hit a home run with the eight ball in the 1993 event to lead the Dan Cortese coached “Awayboys” to victory over the hated Corbin Bernsen coached “Homeboys.” Anyone? Just me? Ok then.
9:41 p.m. – GUERRERO JR. HITS 29 HOME RUNS AGAIN! The potential 30th home run came within an inch of going out on the final hit. Did you know his dad was Vlad Guerrero? Who won the event in 2007? WHY IS NOBODY TALKING ABOUT THIS?
9:44 p.m. – Mother of God, JP isn’t going away. Despite his terrible name he hits an impressive 14 home runs with two minutes left to go.
9:48 p.m. – Holy shit, JP hits 27 home runs and needs to hit three more in his 30 second bonus to defeat Guerrero Jr.
9:50 p.m. – They both hit 29 overall and each get to take a swing at Karl Ravech’s head and whoever hits his toupee furthest goes to the championship round.
9:55 p.m. – ESPN goes the PC liberal route and opts for a two minute home run tie breaker. They both hit another 8 home runs, tying again. YOU MEAN I HAVE TO WATCH MORE OF THIS BULLSHIT?! JUST END IT ALREADY.
9:56 p.m. – THEY TIED AGAIN. AFTER A THREE SWING HIT OFF, THEY TIE AGAIN. They both hit a home run in three swings and go to ANOTHER overtime round. Did I die before overtime started? Is this purgatory for me? Am I going to watch these two hit dingers for the rest of my days until my soul is absolved of all its sins? It could be worse, I could have to watch the Flyers.
10 p.m. – For this overtime round whoever is the son of Vladimir Guerrero wins and goes on to the championship.
10:03 p.m. – That was amazing. Guerrero hits two bombs with his three swings and JP hits one. JP, like every Dodgers fan ever, leaves immediately before the contest is over so he can beat traffic.
10:03 p.m. – The only thing that could have made that any better would have been a quick shot of Zack Hample being trampled as he ran for one of the home run balls.
10:05 p.m. – Christ, I forgot we still have more of this. Just end it now and give it to Guerrero Jr., he deserves the trophy and the $1 million. I don’t care about anything else.
10:06 p.m. – Somewhere Chris Berman looked up from his third Reuben sandwich of the evening, grunted at the TV, and squirted Thousand Island dressing directly from the bottle into his mouth.
10:12 p.m. – I’d respect Acuna Jr. more if he just bunted for the rest of the competition.
10:16 p.m. – Acuna Jr. is gassed despite the three hour break he got watching Guerrero Jr. and JP put on the greatest home run derby round of all time. He hits 19.
10:19 p.m. – Alonso is up and the crowd gasps off-screen after his first hit. Maybe DJ Irene was beaned by an Alonso line drive as he was looking for the club remix of the Cupid Shuffle.
10:20 p.m. – The broadcast just revealed that Alonso is actually called the Polar Bear because of an incident in high school where he tossed a second grader into the polar bear enclosure of the Bronx Zoo for a laugh.
10:24 p.m. – Alonso hits 20 to send Acuna Jr. packing. Because he is a promising young member of the Mets, I look forward to reading about his MRI results tomorrow showing he tore both rotator cuffs simultaneously at some point during the competition.
10:28 p.m. – Apparently Paul Heyman announced on Monday Night Raw that BROCKKKKK LESNARRRRR would cash in his Money in the Bank contract this Sunday at Extreme Rules in Philadelphia. I found this exponentially more interesting than anything Mark Teixeira has said all night.
10:31 p.m. – Guerrero Jr. has hit 69 total home runs going into the championship. Somewhere, Rob Gronkowski is giggling to himself.
10:35 p.m. – Guerrero Jr. hits a paltry 22 home runs in the championship round. He is one pathetic loser.
10:40 p.m. – Oh my God just end this. I’ve had it. I’ve been out of contention to win money for 95% of this entire broadcast.
10:41 p.m. – A gorgeous shot of downtown Cleveland and its historic Applebees that LeBron James once refused to step foot in.
10:45 p.m. – Alonso hits 23 in the final round to beat Guerrero Jr. It should be fun to hear Mike Francesa rationalize how this is on par with the Mets 1986 World Series championship.
10:51 p.m. – What a night, what a derby. Guerrero Jr. and JP put on a show, Alonso won the championship after Guerrero Jr. punched himself out, and most importantly Carlos Santana embarrassed himself on national television.