2012 Home Run Derby
It was perhaps fitting that Prince Fielder won last night’s MLB Home Run Derby wearing the sparkling, new Nike “King of the Diamond” pack Air Max MVP Elite Nike cleats. Part of the King of the Diamond pack which also included a Lunar TR1 Trainer and special edition Home Run Derby batting gloves, the gold cleats symbolized the supremacy of eight of the games greatest and emerging hitters. While not everybody donned the gold cleats (see Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista), suffice it to say that Nike hit it out of the park with this new All Star Game pack. Nike followed up on their 2010 All Star Game Pack featuring an Orange Air Max Diamond Elite cleat (http://www.solecollector.com/niketraining/?p=1630) with the 2011 Home Run Derby edition Huarache 2KFresh cleats (http://www.solecollector.com/niketraining/?p=5087). This year marked the third year with a flashy cleat release for MLB All Stars.
Fielder, with 12 bombs in the final round (to best Bautista’s 7) finished last night with a total of 28 in the three rounds to become the second player in history to win multiple Derbies, one behind Ken Griffey Jr.’s three. Fielder tied a finals record with his 12 (a mark set last year by Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano) and became the only player to win a Derby while representing both leagues (the AL this year and the NL, as a Brewer, when he won in 2009).
Jose Bautista came out strong in the first round, leading the pack with 11 but faltered in the second, advancing to the finals only after a “swing-off” with the Angels’ young slugger Mark Trumbo. Bautista looked good in the swing-off needing only his first two swings to advance as he sent rockets out into the left field seats but he looked sluggish (no pun intended) in the finals, failing to match the intensity of Fielder, who routinely put balls onto the fountains, drilling shots over 450 feet. One of the most exciting outcomes of last night’s Derby however, did not even come in the finals. Mark Trumbo arrived on the scene hitting absolute bombs and his performance demonstrated the impact of his presence in the game. This was especially nice to see in the face of the incredibly rude Kansas City fans who booed him (along with AL Captain Cano, who had a whopping total of 0 homeruns in his first and only round), because Trumbo was taken by Cano instead of hometown hero Billy Butler. I for one, was extremely glad to see Trumbo there asserting himself as the All Star he was chosen to be.