An extremely abbreviated Home Run Derby diary

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Given my view of it all,
you won’t be surprised to hear that I ended up only watching a fraction
of the Home Run Derby last night, but I’ll offer the following
observations:

— It took something like 20 minutes for the actual hitting to start
following the commencement of the broadcast. One would think that if
you’re hyping a Home Run Derby as much as ESPN was, you’d want to get
to some actual hitting eventually.

— Nelson Cruz was pretty impressive. Wasn’t expecting that.
Probably because I never get to see any Rangers games. I think I’ll
blame ESPN for that too.

— I get tired watching Prince Fielder simply walk around, so
watching him hack violently like he did last night was an exhausting
experience.

— Call me crazy, but I don’t know that I’d want my son to be one of
the kids who wipe down the sweaty ballplayers after they’re done
hitting. Very weird vibe.

— Berman might read CTB — or Deadspin — because in at least the parts I saw of it, he seemed to have ratcheted, um, back on the “back back backs” a good 50%

Greg Doyel of CBS Sports made a veiled accusation of steroid use by Brandon Inge yesterday. Wonder if he’s gonna take it back now that Inge didn’t hit a single dinger.

— The little comet trail thing they’re putting on the ball makes me
burn with an anger that is hotter than a thousand suns. Beyond stupid.
Who can’t follow the flight of a baseball? Who doesn’t have the
patience to see if the ball makes the stands? Half the time it doesn’t
even track the ball very well. Note to ESPN: just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

— Adrian Gonzalez came to bat and Joe Buck made his way to the
broadcast desk. To review the bidding at that point, we had Berman,
Steve Phillips, Joe Buck, a contrived contest I can’t really get into,
and some lame, 1980s video game graphics on the ball. That’s when I
bailed. Congrats to Prince Fielder and everything, but my Ross MacDonald book was way, way more entertaining.

Look, I’ll fully admit that everyone looks like they’re having fun at
this thing. Especially all of the kids shagging flies in the outfield.
But it simply doesn’t work as televised entertainment. Perhaps if they
sped it up a bit, jacked the intensity somehow and made it into a
shorter and more direct contest the results would be better. Of course
that can’t happen because guys would get too tired and people wouldn’t
sit in the stands buying $8 beers for three hours.

All-Star Game tonight. You won’t be surprised to learn that I have a
million complaints about it too, but at least it’s baseball.

Video: Matt Carpenter has a six-game home run streak

Matt Carpenter
Getty Images
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Following his phenomenal performance on Friday, Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter found another page on which to ink his name in the history books. He hit a pair of home runs in the first and second games of the Cardinals-Cubs doubleheader on Saturday, becoming the first player to hit six homers in a single series at Wrigley Field and the 28th MLB player to ever hit a home run in six straight games.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the 32-year-old infielder extended his two-game home run streak with a solo blast off of the Cubs’ Anthony Bass during the series opener on Thursday. He followed that up with three home runs in Friday’s staggering five-run, seven-RBI performance, then teed off another solo homer against Tyler Chatwood in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. Even more remarkable: He didn’t start Game 2, but subbed in for Jose Martinez in the seventh and promptly hit one deep to center field in his first at-bat of the evening.

Entering Sunday’s game, Carpenter is riding a .277/.386/.593 batting line with an NL-best 30 doubles, 25 home runs and 163 OPS+. If he collects another home run during the club’s series finale, he’ll be the first with a seven-game home run streak since former outfielder Kevin Mench did it for the Rangers in 2006. Only three players — Mench (2006), Barry Bonds (2004) and Jim Thome (2002) — carried similar streaks, while the all-time record is currently held by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long, at eight consecutive games with a home run.