Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bringing the Passion Back to America's Pastime

If you've followed my blogs at all or know me personally, you know I love the game of baseball.

This week is All-Star week.
Tonight is the All-Star game and last night was the Home Run Derby.

For the little boy in all of us men, the All-Star game and Home Run Derby are like sitting down to a meal where they only serve dessert. Its an opportunity to feel that child-like excitement of watching players that seem larger-than-life, and the Home Run Derby last night didn't disappoint.

Josh Hamilton.

Remember the name.
If you haven't already heard it - you will soon.

I've been lucky enough to have him on my fantasy baseball team this season and I couldn't be more excited.
Well, actually I can.
And I was - last night when I got to watch him bat last in the first round.

To give you a quick summary of the home run derby - 8 of the All Stars basically get to the plate and have to hit as many home runs as possible. Its that simple. Its all about showing off your power and hitting ability to entertain the fans.

Seven of the players had already hit and Lance Berkman was leading the pack with 8 home runs.
What happened next was an astonishing showcase of raw desire and talent that was powered by an incredible story of human spirit and determination.

Josh proceeded to smash ball after ball after ball into the upper decks and bleachers of Yankee Stadium. Eventually, the crowd was chanting his name, which just powered him to keep hitting more.

He finished with a record 28 home runs in the first round of the derby -- more than 3 times any of the other competitors.

The rest of the rounds don't even matter ......(or make sense, since he ended up losing the derby) because those few minutes of excitement turned him into that iconic baseball hero that legends are made of. He was Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson. He was larger than life, and so is the story of how he got there.

After getting drafted in 1999, he started down a slippery slope of addiction to drugs and gambling that eventually got him suspended and took him out of baseball. From 2002 to 2006 he didn't play baseball at all. With the help of some family and close friends, he managed to make the most of his natural talent and fight off the demons that held him back. He eventually managed to get drafted again in 2006 and skyrocketed back into the majors in 2007. Then, this season, he has proven himself to be the rare superstar that he is by putting on a clinic of hitting and defensive power that no player before him has ever done. His first half of the season culminated last night with a performance that will forever be embedded in every baseball fan's memory for a long time to come.

Thanks, Josh!


Of course I didn't forget the funny!!

I think he Can Dance

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