The strategy worked. At least it did for two glorious rounds of hard-hitting action.
Ramirez, who finished runner-up in the Home Run Derby to Boston's David Ortiz, hit nine home runs in the first round, including two home runs with the gold balls worth $17,000 each for the Boys & Girls Club. He hit a home run on his first swing, and at one point, Ramirez launched four homers in a row into the stands. In the second round, he hit three home runs in a row with two outs and finished with a total of 21 after two rounds.
Florida's All-Star shortstop finished with a total of 26 home runs. Ortiz hit 31 total.
"The most important thing tonight is that we were all rooting for each other," Ramirez said. "Nobody was rooting for himself. We had fun."
As for Cabrera, he hit seven home runs in the first round and finished the contest with 12 after two rounds.
Ramirez was representing a short list of shortstops to compete in the Derby.
Cal Ripken won the Home Run Derby in 1991. In 2004, Miguel Tejada, then a shortstop, won the contest and finished with a total of 27. He entered the contest again two years later and only hit two home runs. Ramirez is the first shortstop to take part in the contest since Tejada. Alex Rodriguez, then a shortstop, competed in the contest in '01 while with the Rangers and in '98 with the Mariners.
After Tuesday's All-Star Game, it's back to business for the Marlins shortstop. He and his Florida teammates have plenty of work to do if they want to catch the first-place Braves in the National League East.
"We are 10 games out of first place," Ramirez said. "We just have to win games."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.