Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Home Run Derby report

Oh, wow. I can't believe the All-Star Game is still to come! We had a wonderful evening at the Home Run Derby, rain delay and all.

Pre-Derby: Josh was working last night, so our group was my dad, brother, brother's friend and me. I hopped on the train and met my dad at the stadium, and we walked over to get a table on the rooftop at Cowboy Jack's, across the street from Target Field. It was breezy and cool, but the sun was shining and we were happy to be outside. As soon as my brother and his friend arrived a few minutes later, it started raining and we had to scurry inside to wait out the rain. Then the sun came out again, a band started playing live music, and we got to enjoy dinner outside after all.

For the early part of the evening, the rain clouds continued to be erratic. Just as the Derby was scheduled to start, a delay was announced because of rain moving toward Target Field. Our seats, up high and down the third base line, were actually protected by an overhang on the top of the stadium, so we stayed dry, but a steady rain was falling. We kicked back and watched the rain delay video footage, which consisted of some of the franchise's greatest games as well as an early home run derby between Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killebrew. As you can see, the delay didn't dampen our spirits (though I was happy to have my fleece jacket).

After about an hour's delay, the Derby was underway, and wouldn't you know - a rainbow popped out!

The Derby: Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Bautista were the stars of the first round, although former Twin Justin Morneau got the biggest and most wonderful ovation in his return to Target Field (current Twin Brian Dozier got a great reception, too). Stanton in particular very nearly hit a ball out of the stadium - it was incredible to watch his home runs. Actually, it was amazing to see what all of the contenders could do when they were working with the pitcher instead of against the pitcher. You know the cheer you make when one player on your team hits a monster home run? We saw more than 70 home runs like that last night. My throat is sore from that cheer! Yoenis Céspedes from the Oakland Athletics won the whole thing eventually, the first time a competitor has won in back-to-back years since Ken Griffey, Jr.

Whenever I've watched the Home Run Derby on TV, I remember lots of commercial breaks. It turns out that in person, there are all kinds of things going on during the breaks: a mascot home run derby, mascot relay races, a high school Home Run Derby and more. Most of the All-Star Game players sit on the field and watch the competition, often with their kids, so there was some fun footage of the dads and kids goofing around, too. There was also a segment between innings that featured impeccably trained dogs sprinting across the outfield and leaping into the air to catch frisbees, which I loved!

Post-Derby: After the derby, Josh and I went to the All-Star Gala at the Mill City Museum. (Ballpark attire, though, not ball gowns.)

The party stretched out over the entire grounds, inside and outside the museum, and the structure was neat: all over the party, there were small plates served at food stations hosted by great Twin Cities restaurants. Despite being a chilly night, it was a beautiful venue for this kind of event. I love that the out-of-town attendees got to see the museum.

It was just a great night. Onward with today's All-Star Game festivities!

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