Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mr. Hamilton Goes to New York

I'm traveling the rest of today, but there will be lots more this week...

For now, I clearly missed something pretty great last night. Usually, the Home Run Derby, as part of baseball's All Star festivities, is just another ESPN-filling distraction. But last night, Josh Hamilton hit 28 homers in the first round of the competition. The number is pretty extraordinary, but the story is much more so: In 1999, at age 18, Hamilton was the top pick in baseball's draft. Two years later, after a car accident, he fell into a years-long spiral of drug addiction. Now, at 27, he's playing his first full season as a Major Leaguer, and he has 95 RBIs at the All-Star break (that's incredible, for those who don't know). His story is pretty well known, but read this for the whole thing.

So, last night, in front of almost 55,000 at Yankee Stadium, in the last year of that historic park, Hamilton takes his pitches in the first round from Claybon Counsil, a 71-year-old from North Carolina who had thrown batting practice to Hamilton when the slugger was a teenager. The crowd chants his name, and the moment is one of those that represents sport at its best. Here's video of the tail end, by which time the crowd, still loud, was apparently exhausted from all the cheering it had already done:


Anonymous Kevin Longrie said...

I watched it live, and felt so damn bad for him when he actually ended up losing. He just lost a lot of steam that first round.

5:14 AM  

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