2011 State Farm Home Run Derby

Robinson Cano tops Adrian Gonzalez to win the Home Run Derby


Something that lasts entirely too long and the Yankees and Red Sox are involved? This sounds familiar.

Robinson Cano was just crowned the winner of the Home Run Derby, topping Adrian Gonzalez 12-11 in the finals. Of course, Cano owes a big-time assist to his father and former Astros pitcher Jose Cano, who served up all of his 32 home runs for the evening. While this event has many, many faults, the final was actually a pretty cool showcase.

No surprise, the left-handed hitters had the edge in Chase Field tonight. None of the four right-handed batters made it through the first round. Matt Holliday had five homers (and was eliminated in a swing-off), MLB home run leader Jose Bautista slugged four, Rickie Weeks had three and Matt Kemp managed only a pair.

Prince Fielder, who received plenty of boos from the Arizona crowd for not including Justin Upton in the competition, was the only member of the National League squad to make it into the second round. And he needed a swing-off to get there. The American League outpaced the National League 76-19 on the evening. Yikes.

Cano and Gonzalez advanced to the finals by collecting 20 homers over the first two rounds. They beat out David Ortiz and Fielder, who had nine apiece over the first two rounds.

And with that, let’s never speak of this again.

Starts times of postseason games announced


Every year the playoff schedule is announced, every year people complain. And it’s understandable why they do. After six months of games starting at around 7pm — bam! — the playoffs come and you’re either staying up late or tuning in early to watch your local nine.

Of course, the reason for this is that Major League Baseball has two fundamental problems to deal with when the playoffs come around (a) the country is big; and (b) baseball is local and two-thirds and more of the fans don’t have a local team to root for in the playoffs. As such, baseball has to make a schedule that somehow deals with teams — like the Mets and Dodgers — who have big time differences between their home fan bases while trying to rope in as many national viewers as possible.

This means compromises and weirdness like, say, the first couple of Mets-Dodgers games starting after 9pm Eastern time on Friday and Saturday. Or the Texas Rangers starting a game at what, back home in Texas, will be 11:45AM. Which, admittedly, aren’t great start times, but do we expect Dodgers fans in L.A. to fight Friday rush hour traffic and be home in time to watch a game featuring the local team any earlier than 6pm? Seems like a tall order.

Anyway, the early round schedule was just released and you can see it below. If you are so inclined you can find all manner of inconveniences here. Sure, if you don’t have a job — or if being online and watching baseball all day is your job — Friday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff games are pretty sweet. But otherwise, just plan accordingly and do the best you can.

And remember: no one gives a rip about these schedule issues about ten minutes after the games start:

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Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez

Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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