Wow. Just, wow.

I was on Chase Utley duty tonight in the Derby. My story was about Utley, his exploits on field and on the airwaves. And Justin Morneau won the Derby.

But really. There was one topic tonight. Josh Freakin Hamilton. Holy cow.

Down here in the workroom in the nether regions of The Stadium, all of us non-main-press-box scribes crowded around a 13-inch TV and watched Hamilton put on a show. And we reacted just like anybody else. No hardened cynics here. Shouts of “WOW” and “No WAY” and plenty of unprintable things. One fellow MLB.com writer said, “That’s one of the only times I’ve ever been in _awe_ of something someone did on a baseball field.”

So after watching that, I headed over to the NL clubhouse to chat with Mr. Utley about his evening. As several of us were standing outside the clubhouse, a number of players passed by. Dan Uggla walked past, and without anyone saying a word to him, he just said to no one in particular, “That’s not fair.”

Few minutes later, same thing with Ryan Braun. He walks past the mass of reporters, and just starts marveling aloud — not in an interview or anything, just a function of how impressed he was — “That was incredible. I’m just glad to be a part of it. I don’t know what to say.”

After all of that, I finally got in the scrum to talk to Utley. He talked a smidge about his homers, apologized for his on-air indiscretion, then, of course, talked about Hamilton. Because everybody was talking about Hamilton.

I was fortunate enough to finish my story before the final round, so I was able to go out and be among the crowd for the final. And the atmosphere was remarkable. The crowd was trying to will Hamilton to win. They were chanting his name, standing up, hollering — they were INVESTED in it. I’ve been to HR Derbys before, but never seen a crowd that cared that much about the outcome of one. This guy just really captured a crowd at one of the greatest stages in sport.

Really, really fun night. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

-M.

8 Comments

You could hear the chanting on TV too. Now just imagine if he had been a hometown hero or a Yankee. The place would be going even more nuts, if that is possible…

Great entry. Is Utley as nice as he seems? He does a lot for Amnesty, if I recall correctly.

man…my wife and I were watching…and it was her FIRST home run derby…when it started, I said, “Okay…you’ll see so-so numbers from most of the guys, and then someone will step up and go off…just usually how it goes…and it seems like most of the time I’ve watched closely, it’s been in the second round.”

We watched the entire first round, and then Hamilton came up…we were screaming and yelling “OH MY GOD! Did he just hit another one????!!!!! OH MY GOD!” And the guy just stops and signs an autograph…and he’s laughing and enjoying himself and I’m thinking, ‘this is what baseball should be about…amazing stories, unpredictable results, and an entire stadium of people lifting up one man as he tries to succeed alone.’

It was incredible to watch…I kept saying to anyone who would listen, “I’ve never heard Yankee Stadium chant a player’s name who wasn’t a Yankee…”

Amazing.

I was watching it last night, and I couldn’t believe that Hamilton hit 28 in the first round. I was in awe of his 500 foot home runs. I was pulling for him, as I’m sure others were, and it was rather unfortunate that he didn’t win. Regardless, he had one of the best Derbys I’ve ever seen. If there was ever such an award like the “Greg Maddux-Tom Glavine ‘Chicks Dig the Longball’ Award”, he’d be the winner. Congrats to Hamilton.

You said it Kev! I have NEVER heard yankees fans chanting an name other than one of their own. Absolutely astonishing what Josh hamilton did last night. Just awe-inspiring!!!

Matt,
did the doctors review Mulder’s MRI Monday? Any word?
I feel for the guy.
Sounds like a great time in NYC.

What did Utley say, anyway, guys? I didn’t watch the Derby… Not a fan, truthfully.

When he was announced before the game, Yankee fans booed him…he said, “Boo? F*** YOU.” Said he was joking with Uggla next to him…and I believe him.

Ridiculous to boo him in that situation and ridiculous to jump his case for saying that…

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