Prince Fielder Crowned King of 2009 Home Run Derby in Saint Louis
Busch Stadium was packed last night for the Major League Baseball 2009 Home Run Derby, and the players put on a show worthy of the crowd. The lineup for the derby included: Carlos Pena (Tampa Bay), Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins), Brandon Inge (Detroit Tigers), Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers), Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Adrian Gonzalez (San Diego), and local favorite (and soon to be National League MVP) Albert Pujols.
But the derby began with a few treats for the Saint Louis crowd. From 4PM until 7PM stadium goers could watch all of the 2009 MLB All-Stars (not just the aforementioned players participating in the Home Run Derby) warm up at Busch Stadium during batting practice. These players included current greats like Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle) and Derek Jeter (New York Yankees) just to name a few.[nggallery id=7]
While batting practice drew baseball fans to the stadium early, it may have been the grooming and presentation of Busch Stadium that stole the show. Stadium crews had meticulously put an image of the Saint Louis Capitol Building and Arch into the grass on the field! The field looked stunning and represented our baseball-loving town well.[nggallery id=8]
As batting practice drew to a close, fans were given two more surprises. The first of which was a fly-over by two F-15 fighters in tight formation, followed by a two-song concert from American Idol Star David Cook.[nggallery id=9]
Finally it was time for the derby to start. Cruz and Fielder set the bar early with 11 home runs in the first round and they would easily advance to round 2! Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would also advance to the next round with 7 and 5 home runs respectively. Pujols almost didn’t make it; tying with Joe Mauer and Carlos Pena who had also both hit 5 home runs in the first round…it came down to a 5-out slugfest between these players, in which Pujols ended as the victor.[nggallery id=10]
Unfortunately for the Saint Louis crowd, Pujols home run streak ran dry and he was eliminated by the end of the second round. Fielder and Cruz advanced to the last and final round, but not before Fielder hit a 503ft home run! Even though Saint Louis fans were saddened by Pujols performance, they could not help but applaud Fielder for the 500+ ft homer. The entire stadium rose and gave Fielder a standing ovation![nggallery id=11]
Fielder would go on to win the derby with a total of 23 home runs, and seemed as though he could have hit many more, given the chance.[nggallery id=12]
All and all, it was a perfect 83 degree July day in Saint Louis, Missouri. A perfect day for fans, young and old to gather and watch the best long-ball hitters in the Leauge do what they do best. A perfect day to crown Prince, king of the home run derby.