Tuesday, July 15, 2008

At the All-Star break

Sometimes, there's not much else you can say except "I wish I'd been there." Check out ESPN's highlights of the Home Run Derby, in which Josh Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the first round, 20 more than the next guy.

Setting aside for the moment the thrill of the spectacle -- 13 consecutive home runs, then eight consecutive, causing the throng at Yankee Stadium to shout out his name -- Hamilton may be a guy genuinely worth rooting for. It's all been said before, I know, to the point of becoming cliche, but let me relay this little anecdote:

In St. Louis, I was standing in rightfield when a fan yelled, "My name is Josh Hamilton, and I'm a drug addict!" I turned around and looked at him with my palms raised to the sky. "Tell me something I don't know, dude," I said. The whole section started laughing and cheering, and the heckler turned to them and said, "Did you hear that? He's my new favorite player." They cheered me from that point on.

How many players would do something like that?

As for the Royals, they keep chugging along: a good spell here, a bad spell there, resulting in a fourth place standing in the Central. I miss the rhythms of baseball, how we can track the days by it, how insanely thrilling and aberrational it seems when there's true movement in the standings, like some seismic geographic change which hitherto had run parallel with our timeline is now creeping towards a bisection. Three teams separate the Royals from the top, but that doesn't mean we can't keep looking up.

We'll leave off with the video of David DeJesus's recent walk-off home run -- because it's just that awesome -- and the celebration afterwards. Ask yourself: why is his belt unbuckled when he comes out of the mob?

At least nothing like this happened.

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