Behind The Scenes

Ultimately, it’s (HR) Derby Day


Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball is embedded in the fabric of American culture and tradition. Baseball transcends generations and connects players and fans alike with those of yesteryear.

From Babe Ruth to Albert Pujols and Hank Aaron to Alex Rodriguez, the game has seen larger-than-life home run heroes crushing balls for more than a century while America has watched, discussed and debated.

During the past few weeks, ESPN.com has offered fans the opportunity to guide the home run discussion by asking them to vote and narrow down the 32 greatest home run hitters of all time in “The Ultimate Home Run Derby.”

The sluggers were then seeded by ESPN baseball reporters Steve Berthiaume, Jim Bowden, Jerry Crasnick, Tim Kurkjian, David Schoenfield and Jayson Stark.

There have been many classic fantasy matchups and much deliberation. Check out the Ultimate Home Run Derby page on ESPN.com to see the results.

And now we are down to two: Willie Mays versus Ken Griffey, Jr.

Talk about a fantasy.

The Ultimate Home Run Derby champion will be announced Monday on ESPN.com, approximately three hours prior to the start of the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) from Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.

This contest features a new twist this year as winners of the previous two Derby outings — Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and Boston’s David Ortiz — have been selected as captains of the National League and American League Derby squads, respectively.

Both Fielder and Ortiz chose their three teammates on SportsCenter on July 5.

It’s Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano for the AL against Fielder, Matt Kemp, Rickie Weeks and Matt Holliday for the NL.

Today, fantasy becomes reality.

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