HBT LiveBlog: David Ortiz wins the Home Run Derby

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10:41: Nearly two and a half hours later, David Ortiz is your 2010 Home Run Derby champion. He defeated Hanley Ramirez 11-5 in the final round. I’m pretty proud to say he was my choice all along.

By the way, I’ll be back for next year’s slam dunk contest. Should be fun.

10:26 PM: David Ortiz sets the bar pretty high, slugging 11 homers in the final round. It’s all on Hanley right now.

10:18 PM: The real star of the night, according to Joe Morgan: David Ortiz’s shoes.

10:13 PM: Yep, Hart does nada. We’ll see Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz in the finals.

10:08 PM: Hanley Ramirez cranked 12 bombs, tying him with David Ortiz with 21 total. We might have a homer-off here, which is exactly what this competition needs. Bonus time. To be honest, I kinda hope Hart is a big ol’ dud here.

9:55 PM: Through two rounds, Cabrera has 12 homers. Hart already has 13 going into the second round, so M-Cab is out.

By the way, the beat reporters care more about Will Ferrell. (picture courtesy of Adam McCalvy of MLB.com)

9:46 PM: My pick is still in the mix. David Ortiz clubbed 13 homers in the second round, many of them prodigious blasts, to give him 21 total. Miguel Cabrera is next.

9:34 PM: 80 minutes later, here are your semi-finalists: Cabrera (7), Ortiz (8), Ramirez (9) and Hart (13). Phew. Fortunately, many of you are still alive in the contest.

9:21 PM: Jorge Arangure of ESPN with the line of the night:


This is a perfect event for Hanley Ramirez since
he doesn’t have to run anything out
.”

Seriously, you can’t top that. Don’t even try.

By the way, Hanley hit nine homers. We’ll see him in the next round.

9:13 PM: Bobby V on announcing: “Everyday it gets tougher.”

9:12 PM: My pick, David Ortiz, just finished with eight home runs. Dude was parched, so he had to take a break to get a drink. I’m getting the feeling that the ESPN booth would love it if Ortiz won, so I’m starting to feel dirty about my selection.

8:56 PM: Holliday started off slow, but rallied to hit five bombs, passing Swisher. He topped out around 497 feet. Impressive.

8:48 PM: Swisher finishes with a total of four home runs. Of course, Alex Rodriguez had to upstage him in the booth. What a jerk!

8:39 PM: Corey Hart has finally put some life into this thing, setting the all-time record with 13 home runs in the first round. Okay, I’m lying, but if you know these things, I have pity on you.

On a side note, the more I hear “back, back, back,” it sounds like a quack.

8:28 PM: Vernon Wells finishes with two home runs, one of them with the help of a fan. Hey, at least this thing is moving fast.

8:22 PM: Chris Young finishes with one home run. That isn’t going to get it done. Maybe he should have brought Juan Gutierrez with him.

8:17 PM: Our contest is officially closed. Good luck to all who entered!

8:10 PM: Kruk favors Cano. Bobby Valentine likes “Jose” Ortiz. Interesting. Dark horse.

8:06 PM: Berman, didn’t you know that Jeff Francoeur leads the league in SAR (Smiles Above Replacement)?

8:03 PM: David Ortiz was just grooving to “Soul Sister.” Is it too late to change my vote?

7:58 PM: See, here I was prepared to put the show on mute when Berman came on, but now I need to start a few minutes early with Train in the house.

7:53 PM: We’re about to get underway, so here is how this thing works. The derby will consist of three rounds. In the first, each player will have 10 outs to hit pile up as many homers as they can. The top four move ahead to the semi-finals. The two finalists are determined by the first and second round scores combined. Get all that? Okay, let’s watch some taters.

7:28 PM: We’ve already had enough people jumping on their soapboxes about silly
exhibitions over the past week (I’m all LeBron-ed out), so I’ll
spare you my thoughts on the Home Run Derby. Sure, it goes on for
entirely too long, but I almost always watch.

The Home Run Derby gets
underway at around 8pm ET, but check back here every now and again for
my random observations on the event. It won’t be every minute, but I will chime in from time-to-time. Also, feel free to add some banter in the
comments section.

And remember, there’s still some time to enter HBT’s Home Run Derby
contest
! As Drew announced Sunday, the winner gets to write a guest post on HBT.
You’ll have the opportunity to write about anything you want, as long
it’s loosely baseball-related. Just be sure to read the fine print. I’m
pretty sure we reserve to right to keep your soul for the rest of
eternity. No biggie.

With that out of the way, here are our competitors:

NL: Corey
Hart (MIL), Matt Holliday (STL), Hanley Ramirez (FLA), Chris Young
(ARI)

AL: Miguel Cabrera (DET), David Ortiz (BOS), Nick Swisher
(NYY), Vernon Wells (TOR)

My pick: Since John Kruk already picked Robinson Cano, I’m going
with Al Kaline. Okay, if you really want to know, I have a good feeling about David Ortiz in that ballpark.

Let’s hope this thing ends before Craig wants the keys back to the blog.

Minor League Baseball established a political action committee to fight paying players more

DURHAM, NC - JULY 28:  The Chicago White Sox play the Most Valuable Prospects during the championship game of the 2011 Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on July 28, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina.  Most Valuable Prospects won 17-2 over the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
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Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.

You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.

The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.

So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.

Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”

Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.

Report: White Sox, Nationals making “strong progress” on a Chris Sale deal

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox deliivers the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.

Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.

The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.

Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.