Home Run Derby live blog

Follow along as the stars descend on Citi Field in Flushing
07/15/2013 7:32 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Robinson Cano won the 2011 Home Run Derby in Phoenix, Ariz.(AP)
Welcome to's live blog of the 2013 Home Run Derby, the final precursor to the 84th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. We're a few miles southeast of our usual perch in the Bronx, but the dot com team is on the scene to give you the latest updates from the bonanza of big flies. So sit back, relax and keep hitting refresh as you watch the home runs fly!

10:56 p.m.: Final totals see Cespedes finish with 32 homers total, and the AL beat the NL 53-50. Time for Yoenis’ presser, so for me, it’s good night from Citi Field!

10:55 p.m.: And there it is. A 455-foot blast off the back wall of the batters’ eye ends it, as Yoenis Cespedes is your 2013 Home Run Derby Champion. The replica WWE Championship and a hug from Bryce Harper complete the coronation. Once again, dude next to me here at Citi sums it up: “That’s a close second to Josh Hamilton in terms of awesomeness.”

10:54 p.m.: Number eight is off the windows of the Acela Club, and Yoenis Cespedes has five outs to hit one homer and claim his crown. Like a good captain, Robinson Cano is out with a Gatorade, a towel, and a word of encouragement.

10:53 p.m.: We’re close to a winner. Cespedes has six homers with five outs left, needing two to tie and three to win.

10:50 p.m.: Cespedes just launched another 400-footer with ease. The guy next to me in the press box summed it up nicely: “Yup.”

10:48 p.m.: Cespedes is up. Cespedes has a home run. The sun will rise in the east tomorrow. Life.

10:45 p.m.: Before the main event of the evening, we have some dogs catching Frisbees in the outfield, while you get set up to see some replays of Jacob Gatewood, one of those earlier youngsters who was crowned the High School Home Run Derby champ here tonight.

10:41 p.m.: Harper finishes with eight in the finals, so that’s the total for Cespedes to beat. With one batter remaining, Chevy’s donation total is up to $382,000; for the breakdown, $150K of that goes to the charity of the winning captain’s choice (which for the AL is Robinson Cano’s RC24 Foundation), $100K goes to the Boys and Girls Club in the winning captain’s name, $25K goes to the losing captain’s charity of choice, and the remainder goes to the Boys and Girls Club in the name of Chevy and MLB. Everyone’s going to end up a winner, folks.

10:38 p.m.: Ron Harper tips his cap to the fans, mostly to give his right arm a break. His son has taken him deep now 22 times, and surely wants to add a few more for posterity.

10:36 p.m.: Halfway through and Harper has five homers. Buckle in for the exciting conclusion.

10:32 p.m.: Three straight dingers to start the finals for Harper before he hits a scorcher down the line. That would’ve been a double in real life, but it’s an out in Home Run Derby. Also, an American League player just stopped by the ESPN table with a Nathan’s hot dog…it’s gonna be that kind of finale, folks.

10:30 p.m.: Bryce Harper starts off the finals, and a Tweet from St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter says this will be an epic finale with Harper claiming the crown…what say you, America?

10:24 p.m.: A six-pack of jack juice for Cespedes gives him 23 total, and it’s now official: Cespedes vs. Harper in the finals. So far, the AL also leads the NL 44-42 overall. Can we get to 100 homers, folks?

10:22 p.m.: Cespedes’ fourth of the round puts another dent in the Silverado and ties the score between the AL and NL…and he follows that up by hitting the plexiglass windows of the Acela Club. Look out in there, rest of the dot com team!

10:21 p.m.: Cespedes isn’t even trying and he’s got three, including a moon shot that may not have landed yet. As of now, the AL trails the NL by one dinger on the overall board.

10:16 p.m.: Harper did not get any more after his eighth, but it matters not, as 16 is enough for a finals berth. Cespedes will have the high total of the first two rounds regardless of what he does here in the semis, and no one would blame him if he pulled a Josh Hamilton and stopped short.

10:15 p.m.: There’s Harper’s eighth of the semis, a blast to dead center that gives him 16 total. He will face Yoenis Cespedes – who is still to bat in the semis, mind you – in the finals.

10:12 p.m.: Some 80-ish homers tonight and Harper’s sixth of the semis is the first one to actually hit the foul pole. Congratulations, Chevy Silverado in center field, some other inanimate object now feels your pain!

10:10 p.m.: Someone needs to get that Silverado a force field…or, at the very least, donate some cash to charity in the name of anyone who drops one in the sunroof.

10:08 p.m.: Bryce Harper steps in to begin the second half of the semis, and he blasts a Dunkin’ Dinger off the sign in right center field to get on the board right away.

10:05 p.m.: A break in the action means a moment to recognize Stand Up To Cancer, as fans throughout Citi Field and many down on said field hold up signs recognizing friends and loved ones who have battled cancer.

10:00 p.m.: A foul ball ends Davis’ night, as he hits four semifinal homers for a total of 12. He is eliminated, Yoenis Cespedes is guaranteed a berth in the finals, and Bryce Harper has the last chance to keep it from being an all-West Division final.

9:58 p.m.: Davis has four dingers and eight outs, so here’s good teammate Adam Jones with a cool drink of water and some new batting gloves to try and help his fellow Baltimore bird fly above the elimination threshold.

9:55 p.m.: Chris Davis is the next contestant on the Long Ball Express, and his pitcher is a name that might be familiar to astute fans: former MLB catcher turned Orioles coach Einar Diaz.

9:52 p.m.: Cuddyer tops his first round total with his eighth dinger of the semis, a rope that plays Plinko with the trianglular back wall in left field. That’s it for Michael, and he has a total of 15 through his two rounds.

9:48 p.m.: Home run number 63 on the night reminds you that you can save 15 percent or more on your car insurance by switching to Geico. Someone let the owner of the red Silverado in center field know that, because Mr. Cuddyer just plunked it good.

9:45 p.m.: The semis are underway with Michael Cuddyer, as we go in reverse order of finish from the first round. He quickly puts up two, putting his total to nine and making Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells’ sore elbow appear to not be in vain.

9:42 p.m.: The team captains/New York players, the defending champ, and the New York native all finished outside the Top 4…who wrote that script?

9:40 p.m.: And that’s it for Wright, who manages just five. Both captains have been eliminated, and it’s Cespedes (17), Davis (8), Harper (8), and Cuddyer (7) in the semifinals. As in the last few years, the two finalists will be decided by cumulative total, so it looks like a dogfight to see who gets Cespedes in the final showdown.

9:39 p.m.: Huge “Let’s Go Wright” chant, as the NL captain has five homers with seven outs. Two to tie, three to advance, and three outs remaining.

9:36 p.m.: The famous apple came out for Wright’s first homer. That’s pretty cool.

9:34 p.m.: Huge ovation as Dave Racaniello takes the bump…okay, no, it was actually for David Wright, whose first homer is a solid second-decker. He needs seven to force a homer-off with Michael Cuddyer and eight to join Chris David, Bryce Harper, and Yoenis Cespedes in the semis.

9:33 p.m.: ESPN cameras just caught Cano and Fielder looking at a replica WWE Championship belt that I assume will go to the winner. Very synergetic considering the actual WWE Champion, one John Cena, is plying his trade about 20 minutes away at Barclays Center.

9:31 p.m.: Only four homers for Cano, which is the lowest total of the seven so far, and it guarantees we will have a first time winner. On the bright side, everyone here loves him, and he did improve his total from 2012 by 400 percent.

9:28 p.m.: And Robby is on the board with a shot to the Pepsi Porch that ends a 700-plus day derby drought, and it felt so good he decided to put a second and then a third up there. Robinson Cano home runs are, apparently, the choice of a new generation.

9:24 p.m.: Here comes Captain Cano, and he gets a rousing ovation from the surely numerous Yankees fans in attendance. Proud papa Jose Cano on the ramp ready to sling some cheddar into to his boy, and let’s see if Robby can redeem himself for 2012.

9:19 p.m.: Robinson Cano’s warm-up act is another youngster out there for some hacks. I just lost sight of one of the blasts he hit, someone might want to check NASA’s space cam.

9:15 p.m.: Bryce Harper hits number seven almost onto the bridge to eliminate Pedro Alvarez, then jacks number eight to tie Chris Davis. That's it for the phenom, who just hit more homers in 10 minutes than you or I did at his age period. Show-off!

9:12 p.m.: ESPN graphic just showed that Prince Fielder allegedly has the longest homer so far. Unfortunately, they don’t get paid by the foot, because Cecil’s boy is already gone-zo. As I type that, Papa Harper serves up another meatball that his boy crushes into the seats for dinger number five.

9:11 p.m.: Someone just channeled Jeffrey Maier on Harper’s second homer, and hey, who are we to argue? Well, someone check Tony Tarasco’s Twitter account…

9:10 p.m.: Bryce Harper steps in, and he will not field questions about his shirt. He will, however, open his dinger-palooza with a 455-footer off the Dunkin Donuts sign in left-center. He hits baseballs well.

9:06 p.m.: Eight is enough for Mr. Davis, as the current home run leader eliminates the reigning Derby king while simultaneously making Yoenis Cespedes the first semifinalist. Process of elimination is fun!

9:03 p.m.: Davis just went oppo back-to-back, with ease. That’s six homers for Davis, and we say good night sweet Prince, because Mr. Fielder is eliminated.

9:04 p.m.: Homer number seven is another call to Geico for whoever technically owns that poor Silverado in center field, and eight drops another bomb on the Baseball Tonight crew. Someone make sure Aaron Boone is okay, please? We may need him for an interview later this season, thanks.

9:02 p.m.: Justin Masterson said earlier that Davis’ swing is very easy…and like that, a flick of the wrist launches a 450-foot bomb into the batters’ eye.

9:01 p.m.: Chris Davis steps into the box. Might want to grab a snack, this could be a while.

8:57 p.m.: Our second intermission entertainment is some youngster who is taking his cuts in the box, and he is straight mashing with a metal bat. He literally just tomahawked two in a row into the left field second deck, and then almost took out one of the umps down the left field line. Ridiculous display of power the likes of which we haven’t seen since Cespedes stepped out of the box 10 long minutes ago.

8:55 p.m.: Five right field upper-deckers and a Shea Bridge shot are all for Alvarez, as he finishes with six to officially put the defending champion on the bubble.

8:50 p.m.: After four straight outs, Alvarez is on the board with a blast to the right field upper deck…one that reminds you that Subway has a $4 lunch all day, every day. So then, it’s not necessarily lunch, is it? No time to worry about that, as Alvarez clears the sign again. Halfway thru with two homers for Pedro.

8:47 p.m.: Hometown boy Pedro Alvarez is up next, as Doug Williams and I break into the “too high? Too hard?” convo from Major League. I’m sure a weatherman can give us better insight as to the physics of it, but the ball is flying here on a humid night in Queens.

8:46 p.m.: Cespedes’ final total is 17 homers and one Tommy John surgery for poor Mike Gallego, who just threw about eight rounds of BP in 10 minutes.

8:45 p.m.: No. 16 is Cespedes’ fifth upper-decker, and I’m running out of witty adjective to describe this power display that would make Major League slugger Pedro Cerrano blush.

8:44 p.m.: Ain’t nothing cheap off the bat of Cespedes, as he hits 13 and 14 before Big Papi comes out with another frosty cold Gatorade. He’s one away from tying Miguel Tejada for the fifth-most homers in one round…and there’s No. 15 to do it.

8:42 p.m.: Someone call JFK, because we’ve moved on to some serious international flight. A fourth upper-decker sandwiches a pair of solid left field shits, and Cespedes is at 12 dingers with five outs remaining…’scuse me, 13, because we have another batters’ eye bomb.

8:41 p.m.: And we have a new leader, as Cespedes’ eighth homer lands in the seats just to the right field side of the batters’ eye. His ninth then lands in the Party City deck, and he just misses a tenth that probably left a man-sized dent in the left-center field wall.

8:38 p.m.: Cespedes crushes his sixth homer off the facing of the apple in dead center, and countryman Aroldis Chapman comes out with some ice cold Gatorade to try to cool him off...but instead, Yoenis goes second deck in left to tie Cuddyer for the lead.

8:37 p.m.: The Cuban Crusher just mauled one over the apple in center field, then launched a 404-foot missile into the third deck in left. His fifth homer is just inside the left field pole, and he has caught Fielder with seven outs remaining.

8:34 p.m.: Cespedes side note: his pitcher is Athletics third base coach and former Yankees shortstop Mike Gallego, who serves up a hot side of tater that lands in the third deck in left field.

8:33 p.m.: Back to the laser show, and the AL is up next. Yoenis Cespedes with the honors, and I smell fear on those poor baseballs.

8:30 p.m.: Our first television timeout entertainment package of the night comes courtesy of The Rockettes, who perform a kick line on top of the home dugout. Meanwhile, all you probably got to watch was commercials…bummer.

8:28 p.m.: With one out left, Cuddyer goes on a mini-tear, ripping two to left field before a pop-up ends his first round. Cuddyer is the leader in the clubhouse with seven.

8:25 p.m.: Cuddyer’s third bomb hits off the upper deck facing in left field, and after a near-miss to dead center, he pulls a pair of frozen ropes into the first deck in left to tie the Prince.

8:23 p.m.: Michael Cuddyer is up second, and his first dinger is a mammoth blast that almost causes 300 bucks damage to one of the Chevy Silverado trucks parked in the batter’s eye. Good thing there’s a lot of auto body shops on the avenues right behind Citi, eh Mikey?

8:20 p.m.: Fielder launches one out towards Shea bridge, and it bounces off the ESPN set’s canopy after 424 feet of pure, furious flight. His final swing is a ground-rule double ball that skee-balls into the apple, and the defending champ is done with five. Not traditionally a high number, but here at the cavernous confines of Citi, we’ll see how it goes.

8:14 p.m.: Two swings, two taters for the Prince, whose second shot was a 483-foot blast that put air traffic control at LaGuardia on alert.

8:12 p.m.: Pitbull has finished his performance, Mike Piazza's ceremonial first pitch to Al Leiter is in there, and it's time for some Jack! We're going to start off with the defending champion, Prince Fielder. 

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