If you endured the Home Run Derby Monday night you have a lot of intestinal fortitude, as Gordon Solie used to say every Saturday night. You sat through ESPN’s attempt to make the Derby look like a life-long dream for the eight sluggers that participated. You endured Chris Berman’s endless drivel and the same schtick he’s used for too many years. You endured Josh Hamilton‘s first round.
Hamilton dragged out the first round for quite a while, while 28 baseballs sailed over the fence. Because the rules allow you to combine your first and second round totals to get to the finals, Hamilton was able to use a HUGE first round to catapult himself into the finals – where he lost to Justin Morneau.
Does any of this mean anything to your fantasy team? Maybe. Do you remember Bobby Abreu and the exhibition he put on in 2005? Abreau’s 24 dingers at Comerica Park three years ago led to a very dismal month. Did his big night tire him out for a whole month? Highly unlikely. Did it get him into a different mindset at the plate that took him 4 weeks to break out of? Possibly. Can Hamilton fall into the same pitfall that grabbed Abreu? Possibly.
Everyone has heard about Hamilton’s story of drugs and how he battled back to get into the Majors. It’s a great story of skill, heart and … intestinal fortitude. He’s the kid we all want to root for in 2008. But this is the kind of event that can ruin a swing for a month or two if the player can’t separtate the Derby from game situations.
I’m not saying Hamilton will tank for the next month, I’m just saying that you should watch him closely for the next week or two. He’s got a ton of talent, but he’s also a little fragile upstairs as has been well documented for the last nine years.