Roughly a week after the Fourth of July each summer, Major League Baseball hosts its own version of fireworks in the annual Home Run Derby.
Homers, taters and bombs cover the night sky, compliments of the game’s best sluggers in arguably the most exciting event of the baseball season.
David Ortiz, who took part in the contest for three straight seasons from 2004-06 but has never finished higher than fourth, has been invited back to his sixth career Midsummer Classic and has a shot at taking part in the Derby once again.
The Sox’ DH was off to a slow start this spring but has notched 17 home runs heading into Tuesday night’s game. With his big swing and even bigger smile, Big Papi is a fan favorite and would be a perfect choice to dig into the batter’s box in this year’s installment.
“It’s what I do for a living,” he told the media Monday night. “Hit bombs.”
The 34-year-old doesn’t believe that the Derby would be hazardous to a hitter’s swing and his numbers back up his beliefs.
In 67 games after his first HRD in 2004, Papi belted 18 homers, compared to the 23 he hit before the break.
In 2005, he smashed 26 of his 47 homers after the Home Run Derby. It was at that Derby that he hit a personal-best 20 total homers in a fourth-place effort at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Finally, after hitting 13 total dingers over the fence at the 2006 All-Star Game, Papi hit 23 of a career-high 54 home runs that regular season.
Clearly the event has yet to disrupt the slugger’s hack, but a few days of rest wouldn’t hurt the big fella. But even if he would agree to take part in the event, does he deserve it? As of Tuesday, he trails six other AL sluggers in home run totals.
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