Please tell me you saw Josh Hamilton in the first round of the Home Run Derby.
Take that, A-Rod. Maybe that’s why you didn’t want to participate in this thing.
Hamilton made Yankee Stadium his own. He had Reggie Jackson on his feet. Hamilton blasted 28 first-round homers, belted three of them more than 500 feet and averaged 445 feet for each towering shot.
Baseball observers will tell you that a left-handed batter’s swing just seems to look prettier than anything else.
It’s true. And Hamilton gave us 28 chances to see why.
What was truly beautiful — as beautiful as his homer binge was majestic — was Hamilton’s smile after each homer. Even after the first one, he smiled. Kids ran to him. David Ortiz ran to him, interrupting the display just to be a part of something special.
And Hamilton, after all he has been through, much of which he brought onto himself, you could tell, just ate it up.
When he said afterwards that he had goosebumps upon hearing his name chanted in Yankee Stadium, you could believe him.
His hitting made anyone who watched him feel the same way.
That Hamilton didn’t actually win the Derby, in the end, doesn’t matter. He has become THE story of this baseball season, and his first-round performance took on Roy Hobbs proportions.
Josh Hamilton is all anybody will ever remember from the 2008 Home Run Derby, the first and last Derby to be held in Yankee Stadium, or any Derby. On baseball’s grandest stage, a recovering crack cocaine addict awoke the ghosts of that legendary yard with the clubbing thunder of maple and rawhide.
No doubt they were standing and applauding like the rest of us. The Babe, and all.