Ted's Take: History may record that Justin Morneau won the 2008 Home Run Derby, but no one who was at Yankee Stadium will remember anything about the event except for the show that Hamilton put on. Finally running out of steam in the finals, Hamilton finished with three home runs, falling two short of Morneau's total of five. With the PA pumping the theme from Rocky, Hamilton launched a towering drive into the black seats in centerfield and it seemed just a matter of time before he would hit the three more he needed to win. The crowd did its part to spur its adopted hero on, giving him a standing ovation with two outs to go. But Hamilton didn't hit another, and Morneau held on, thanks to the two home runs he hit with one out remaining that Hamilton couldn't.
Ted's Take: Hamilton remained the story of Round 2 without ever needing to take an official swing. After Berkman, Morneau and Braun took their cuts to see who would match up with Hamilton in the finals (Morneau, another lefty-swinger from the AL earned the honor with a round of 9 for a two-round total of 17), Hamilton still held a double-digit lead. Though he didn't officially have to swing at all, he decided to, in the words of Derby emcee Michael Kay, "take a few swings to loosen up." With his first swing, producing another majestic HR, Kay deadpanned, "He's loose." And so he was, finally setting his two-round total at 32 and moving into the finals after just four outs.
Ted's Take: Remember how everyone said this was a Home Run Derby that was not fit for the great longball masters who had once punished pitches and awed fans in the House That Ruth built? Through most of a yawn-inducing first round that drew only rare oohs and few ahs from the Yankee Stadium crowd, they were right. Until, that is, Josh Hamilton grabbed a bat. Adding to his legend and his HR Derby record with each passing swing, the Texas Rangers outfielder electrified the baseball world by launching 28 home runs. When his barrage finally ended, it did so with the theme from The Natural blaring over the Stadium loudspeakers. Three of Hamilton's bombs reached the fabled black seats. At least a dozen went into the upper deck. The Babe himself couldn't have done it any better.
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