It came down to a classic matchup between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees for the Home Run crown as the Yanks Robinson Cano edged out the Sox's Adrian Gonzalez 12-11 in the finals to take the victory in the MLB All-Star event.
"As a kid, you dream to be up here with a bunch of guys that you watched back in the day, like Sosa, Griffey, McGwire, Giambi, how much fun they have," Robinson Cano said.
Cano delivered blast after blast past the fences in securing the win, with one hitting the Miller Lite sign, a 472-foot drive off an advertisement a good 50 feet or more above and well behind the swimming pool at Chase Field. Adding to making this night special for him was that his father, former Houston Astros pitcher Jose Cano, pitched to him in the final round.
"When he called me at home, that he wanted me to come to the United States because he's going to be in the Home Run Derby, I said, 'I'll be happy to pitch to you,' because that's what I do at home," Jose Cano said.
The night wasn't without some drama, however, as a fan almost fell reaching for a ball, again highlighting the dangers of reaching for a ball at a big league game. Keith Carmickle of suburban Kingman, was standing on a table above the pool deck when Prince Fielder smacked a ball in his direction. Carmickle reached for it and overbalanced. He would have fell 20 feet if his brother wasn't their to grab him.
"I stepped up on the table, I missed the ball by 2 or 3 feet and went over," he said. "We caught three balls and I told the guys I was going to go for the cycle. Dude, they were really holding onto me."
Another man, 26-year-old fan Mike Moon, wasn't so fortunate as he fell reaching for a ball hit by Gonzalez. Lucky for him, he landed in the swimming pool in right field, where he was surrounded by bikini-clad women.
And he caught the ball.
"I saw the ball, I didn't want to spill my beer and I didn't spill my beer," he said. "I don't really remember what happened. I think I leaned forward, caught the ball, then fell like that (leaning backward). It was pretty cool."
This contest was the first to introduce a new feature, gold balls for the players last out. Valued at $149 each, every homer hit with these balls meant Major League Baseball and State Farm Insurance combined to donate $18,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. State Farm contributed $603,000 to charities as a result of the derby.
Photo Credit – AP