McCartney's Take: The Prince is crowned. A regal performance. Insert your pun of choice because The Home Run Derby belongs to Prince Fielder, who added a little more drama than expected before putting Nelson Cruz away with a 423-foot blast. No offense to Cruz but could this have ended any other way than with star of the night, with 11 home runs of over 450 feet, as the last man standing? Cruz may not have won, but for a guy the casual fan had never heard of before Monday tonight, he at least increased his Q rating in making the final. For what it's worth, Fielder is the first guy from the NL Central to win the Derby since the Cubs' Sammy Sosa, another guy who was known for putting on a show in this event, claimed the crown in 2000.
McCartney's Take: So it's Nelson Cruz and Prince Fielder for the crown, or more specifically, the crossed-bat trophy. That two-hour layoff (seriously, two hours) didn't faze either Cruz (five more home runs) or Fielder, who added six more, including the longest shot so far at 503 feet. Through two rounds, four of the five longest HRs belong to the Brewer. Cruz looks smooth, but the way Fielder is muscling balls out, even off balance, he's going to be hard to beat. Ryan Howard made a nice run with a round-high eight homers, but that slow (or calculated) start killed him. As for Albert Pujols, you have to wonder: did he tire out? Between taking cuts in the exhibition before the exhibition, batting practice before his actual first round, the round itself, the swing-off and the second round, it's amazing he could even lift a bat when he was done.
* Pujols beat Mauer and Pena in a swing-off tiebreaker (2-1-0) to advance. McCartney's Take: Could St. Louis, or Albert Pujols' overly excited son, have handled the Cardinals' star not making the second round? Pujols hit two homers to beat out Carlos Pena (one HR) and Joe Mauer (zero homers) in a five-swing playoff to advance. Pujols may have added drama, but the round didn't belong to him or Gateway City native Ryan Howard. Instead, it was Nelson Cruz and Prince Fielder that stole the show with 11 homers apiece. Cruz didn't put on the epic performance like Rangers teammate Josh Hamilton did last year in the Bronx, but he was locked-in, hitting just one foul ball en route to advancing. Fielder had the round's biggest blast, coming in at 497 feet, and what made his run so impressive is that it often didn't look like he really got a hold of the ball. But can a guy who swings so hard keep it up? The guy to keep an eye on is 2006 champion Howard, who, if it's possible, seemed to be pacing himself. As an aside, the Tigers' Brandon Inge became the first player since Jayson Bay in '05 to go homerless. But hey, he's got being an All-Star going for him, which is nice.
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