Major League Baseball announced tonight the four participants who will represent the American League in the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby, which will be held on Monday, July 9th at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
#AL Derby captain Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees announced the invitations he has extended on tonight’s 6:00 p.m. (ET) edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter. Cano, the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby Champion, has invited outfielder Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, first baseman Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers and infielder/outfielder Mark Trumbo of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to join him in representing the A.L.
For the second consecutive year, players will have the ability to use social media during the State Farm Home Run Derby (@StateFarm #HRDerby). Last year’s first-ever “Social Media Derby” in Phoenix peaked at nearly 5,000 Tweets per second during the final round, at the time the seventh-highest figure in the five-year history of Twitter.
Bautista (@JoeyBats19) is currently the Major League home run leader with 26. The 31-year-old was the winner of MLB’s Hank Aaron Award as the A.L.’s most outstanding offensive performer in both 2010 and 2011. The Dominican Republic native is aiming for his third consecutive Major League home run crown, having led with a club-record 54 in 2010 and again with 43 in 2011. He is one of just 12 players since 1920 to lead all of MLB in home runs in back-to-back years. For the 2010-2011 seasons combined, Bautista’s 97 home runs, 232 walks and .613 slugging percentage were the best marks in all of MLB. The three-time A.L. All-Star is now competing in his second consecutive Derby, having been a part of the David Ortiz-led A.L. contingent last year in Phoenix.
Fielder was the champion of the 2009 State Farm Home Run Derby in St. Louis with 23 homers. His 503-foot shot at Busch Stadium is the longest home run in the last three editions of the Derby. Now in his first season with the Tigers, this will be the fourth Derby of Fielder’s career (previous: 2007, ’09, ’11). The four-time All-Star was last year’s N.L. Derby captain in Phoenix. Fielder was the 2007 N.L. home run champion with 50. The durable slugger has finished in the top four of Most Valuable Player balloting three times in his eight-year Major League career and has hit at least 28 home runs in each full season of his career, including three seasons of 38 or more.
Trumbo (@Mtrumbo44) will participate in the Derby as a part of his Midsummer Classic debut. The versatile 6’4”, 225 lb. slugger is in his second full Major League season. He is currently batting .312 with 20 home runs, 55 RBI and a .620 slugging percentage, which ranks second in the A.L. In 2011, the Anaheim native, who grew up 10 minutes from Angel Stadium, became just the fifth A.L. rookie in the last quarter-century to lead his team in both homers (29) and RBI (87). His Angels teammates voted him the club’s MVP last year. On August 7, 2011, Trumbo launched a 471-foot homer off Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, marking the longest home run at Angel Stadium all season. Trumbo hit 120 Minor League home runs from 2005-2010, including a Minor League-best 36 home runs for Triple-A Salt Lake in 2010.
In his first career Home Run Derby appearance last year, Cano (@RobinsonCano) set a new final round record with 12 home runs, besting the previous record of 11 set by Bobby Abreu (2005), David Ortiz (2010) and Adrian Gonzalez earlier in last year’s final. Cano, who joins Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (1990) as the only pair of second basemen to win a State Farm Home Run Derby, amassed 32 total home runs during the competition, tied for the third highest total in a single Derby. The eighth-year Yankee hit his 20th homer of the season on Sunday, marking his fourth straight campaign with at least 20 home runs, including a career-high 29 home runs in 2010. Cano’s 20 homers in 2012 have included 11 in his torrid June. In 2010-2011, Cano became the first second baseman in baseball history to record at least 40 doubles, 25 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored in back-to-back seasons. The only other Yankees to reach those totals in consecutive seasons are Lou Gehrig and Don Mattingly. Cano is slated to join Jason Giambi (2002-03) as the only Yankees to have participated in the Derby more than once.
Cano’s A.L. squad will square off against N.L. Derby captain Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Carlos Beltran (@carlosbeltran15) of the St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Gonzalez (@CargoMedia5) of the Colorado Rockies and Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo27) of the Miami Marlins.
Social media stations will be set up on both sides of the Kauffman Stadium field near the dugouts, where players – including those participating in the #HRDerby – will be able to log into their own social media accounts while uploading photo and video content shot on their personal mobile devices. ESPN will heavily incorporate social media into the television broadcast, creating a fully integrated social TV experience for fans. Last year’s first-ever “Social Media Derby” in Phoenix resulted in a significant volume of online activity and considerable increases in Twitter followings for the participating MLB All-Stars.
This year’s State Farm Home Run Derby will continue to follow the format first introduced in 2011, featuring team competition between the #AL and #NL. Each of the captains will select a charity of their choice which they will be hitting for during the Derby. State Farm and Major League Baseball will donate a significant amount of money for charity through the event. The donations will be made as follows:
- $150,000 will be awarded to the winning captain's charity in his name
- $100,000 will be awarded to Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) in the name of the winning captain
- $25,000 will be awarded to the charity of the captain of the losing team in his name
- The remainder will be donated to BGCA on behalf of State Farm and MLB
The total amount of money distributed will be determined by the home runs hit during the competition. For each Gold Ball home run hit by a State Farm Home Run Derby participant after the 9th out throughout the State Farm Home Run Derby, State Farm and Major League Baseball will combine to donate $18,000 to designated charities. The dollar figure was selected to coincide with the number of State Farm agents throughout the U.S. and Canada. State Farm will make an additional donation of $3,000 for every non-Gold Ball home run hit throughout the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby.
In addition to coverage on ESPN, the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN HD, ESPN 3D, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV, and ESPN Radio in the U.S. as well as ESPN International beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT) on Monday, July 9th.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10th. The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/2012.