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.

MLB may introduce “tacky” baseballs in 2018

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.

They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.

As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.

Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.

Here we go: Tim Tebow reports to Mets camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets speaks at a press conference after a work out at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.

Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.

The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.

In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: