7:15 Blogging the home run contest at Comerica Park in Detroit live here and to start off, some of the rules: you get 10 outs in the first round to hit as many homers as you can, every swing is either a homer or an out. After 9 outs you get the Century 21 "gold" ball, with every gold ball hit out Century 21 will donate $21,000 to the Easter Seal foundation. Its 346' to left, 422' in center and 330' to right, the shortest fence.
7:23 Bobby Abreu of Phily representing Venezuala starts things off... Home Run on the first pitch! Two dingers in 4 swings, not bad. Joe Morgan comments he "got good wood on that one". Several deep homers now with 8 and only 4 outs. He's now at 10 with 6 outs. That one's back, back, back and gone as Boomer says. Bobby hits one 517', the second longest in the HR competition. THe crouds chanting "Bobby, Bobby". He takes a break as Pugde Rodriguez brings him a towel and some gatorade. Bobby now has 16 and breaks Miguel Tejada's record of 15 in a round. Abreu now has 20 with 8 outs! Number 21 goes out as he breaks his bat on that one. 24 with 9 outs now and we're to the "gold" century 21 ball and finally after 17 minutes and 24 home runs, Abreu is done.
7:43 Jason Bay of the Pirates, representing Canada, is next. Bay, batting right handed, isnt expected to do a whole lot. Three quick outs for Jason. Still no dingers yet and 5 outs. 9 outs and still nothing, gold ball time. And zippo, he's done and out of the competition.
7:49 Carlos Lee is up next representing Panama. Lee's with the Brewers and bats from the right side. He doesn't pull a Jason and hits one out with just one out. 5 homers and 5 outs now and the last one was deep! 8 and 8 now for Carlos. Gold ball time now for Lee and there's the first gold ball homer. Now they're plugging the gold ball, you can purchase your own, just go to .... yeah anyways, 3 "gold" homers later, Lee finishes with 11 dingers.
8:02 Next we have Hee-Seop Choi (pronounced He-Sop) with the Dodgers and representing Korea. Before that Reggie Jackson joins Chris Berman and Joe Morgan for some commentary. Now Choi, batting left-handed, looks to try to get on the board. 3 outs now but Choi gets him one. Hee-Seop goes on a little run and ends up with 5 after flying out on the gold ball. A respectable outing for Choi.
8:12 We're halfway through a slow moving first round now. Hometown favorite Pudge Rodriguez is up now representing Puerto Rico. The Tiger bats right-handed and blasts his second swing into the left field stands. He's at 4 and 4 now and will need 6 to get ahead of Choi. There's a deep shot to give him 6 with 7 outs. Gold ball now and he sends that one "all the way to East Lansing" Boomer says.
8:23 Mark Tiexiera from the Rangers is now up. He's a switch hitter, but bats from the left side here. He represents the U.S. and starts off with 5 outs. Tex on the board now. 2 homers now and he's already at the gold ball... and he's done with just 2.
8:32 Now we've got 'Big Poppy' David Ortiz from the Red Sox up. Representing the Dominican Republic, he bats from the left side. Ortiz' first swing is an absolute bomb to right. Why again did the Twins ever let this guy go??? Hmm 4 outs in a row now for Big Poppy. There we go, another deep one to right. 6 dingers now with 6 outs. Poppy up to 8 now and will move into the second round. Number 12 is into the upper deck! 14 and 9, its gold ball time. 3 gold ball dingers and Ortiz finishes with 17, second most ever in a round behind Abreu.
8:50 Sam Ryan is interviewing Johnny Damon and asking about his teamate Ortiz. Ahh the Curt Schilling comments he made are brought up. Quite a change of tune for Damon after the foot in mouth incident.
8:54 Andruw Jones of the Braves is up last with Pudge on the bubble with 7. Batting from the right side represending Curacoa, he has 3 quick outs. Ruh-Roh, 5 outs now, will hometown fav. Pudge make it or not. 3 in a row now and Jones has found his groove it seems. 2 more outs and its 3 with 7 outs. 4 with 8 and its going to be close here. Gold ball time and Jones needs 3 more to tie. Andruw adds 1 more and is done and Pudge advances to the second round with Abreu, Lee and Ortiz.
9:05 Bud Selig visits and discusses the Kenny Rogers incident and his playing in the All-Star game while his suspension is being appealed. He's very diplomatic about it and they move on. Does anyone like this guy?
9:08 Abreu up first and starts off with another homer, just where he left off. He's a little late with his swing now it seems. He's up to 2 with just 3 outs. Lets see if he can duplicate his first round performance. 4 with 7 outs now, he's going to need to step it up some. Gold ball time and 2 more for Bobby to finish with 6. Will it be enough to move on?
9:19 Carlos Lee now and he's off to a slow start. He's got 3 but 7 outs though two of them were deep shots to center. 4 with 9 outs now and that probably wont be enough to advance. An out with the gold ball and he's done.
9:29 Pudge is back up and 7 will put him in the finals. He's at 2 but has 6 outs. A fan catches one that is just short but they dont give it to him. There goes one opposite field, the first all night and he's up to 4 with 7 outs. He has 6 now and with 9 outs. Gold ball time... and 2 more! gives him the lead and puts him in the final in fromt of his home town fans!
9:42 Big Poppy up again and he needs 7 to move on to the finals. Ortiz is off to a slow start, hitting a few to center that weren't quite deep enough. Hes got 3 with 7 outs now. Down to the gold ball now and its deep but still playable and he's out. Its Pudge vs Abreu in the final.
9:55 Time for the finals.. Abreu will go first. He has 24 in the first round but dropped all the way to only 6 in the second round to squeak into the finals. The fans are obviously rooting for Pudge. First two swings are outs. 1 homer and 4 outs now. Up to 4 now with 5 outs, he's finding his groove with 3 in a row. Now he's up to 8 with 7 outs, Pudge will have his work cut out for him. He's been up for a long time now, up to 11 homers with 9 outs. And he's done with 11, 41 for the night.
10:14 Pudge needs 11 to tie and 12 to win, more than he hit in the previous rounds, but he'll have the home town fans behind him. He starts off with 2 straight, both deep to left. 2 with 3 outs now, he needs to step it up. 5 outs in a row and Pudge needs a serious hot streak. Deep to center and just short for out 6. Only 4 and 9 outs, its gold ball time and Pudge needs 7 more. One gold ball to deep left, way out. Done with 5 and Bobby Abreu wins the home run derby tonight at Comerica. Good try Pudge, the fans were there for ya.