NEW YORK -- Now, you can be the heavy hitter.
MLB.com has released an update to the official 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby game, the popular arcade simulation of the All-Star event that draws the game's greatest sluggers. Fans can step in as any of the participants in the Home Run Derby, to be held on Monday, and they can take their swings in a lovingly rendered version of Citi Field.
Citi Field's dimensions have been translated to the computer screen, and backdrop items such as retired numbers and the famous Home Run Apple are in play. Players can get a bonus for hitting tape-measure home runs and for going on long homer streaks, but that's just part of the fun involved.
Home Run Derby features two game modes: Arcade Mode, which allows you to hone your skills, and a full-on Home Run Derby that pits you against some of the other top hitters in the league.
Fans can play by themselves or in multiplayer mode, and they can track their high scores on the worldwide leaderboards.
And the better you hit, the more secrets of the game you can unlock. Fans can power up their players and use coins to purchase better bats, gloves and cleats for the Derby. Each hitting round, which lasts a minute, presents a new challenge and rewards the player for improving.
And perhaps the best feature? The reality of picking your favorite player. Two local players -- the Yankees' Robinson Cano and the Mets' David Wright -- served as the league captains this season, and they chose a veritable who's who of home run hitters in the American and National Leagues.
Cano, the Yankees' second baseman and the 2011 Home Run Derby champion, selected Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis of the Orioles and Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder to represent the AL. Fielder has won the Home Run Derby twice, and Davis currently leads the Major Leagues with 33 home runs. Cespedes has 38 home runs in his first 204 big league games.
Wright, the Home Run Derby runner-up in 2006, will have home-field advantage this time around. He'll also have the assistance of one of the game's true phenoms in Washington outfielder Bryce Harper. Wright also selected Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer to compete in the Derby. Gonzalez withdrew from the competition Thursday, however, after spraining his right middle finger earlier this week. He was replaced by Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Harper, the top overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, will become the second-youngest player (20 years and 269 days) to compete in the Home Run Derby, trailing only Ken Griffey Jr. (20 years, 230 days). Harper is also set to become the third-youngest player to start an All-Star Game, and he'll be the first player to represent the Nationals in the Home Run Derby.
Perhaps nobody brings more talent and imposing presence to the table than Fielder, who won the Derby for the Brewers in 2009 and last year for the Tigers. Fielder will become the sixth player to compete in the Derby five times, and he's the second Tiger to compete more than once.
For Davis, a first-time All-Star, the Home Run Derby is all fun and games. Davis has the fourth-highest home run total in history for an AL player at the All-Star break.
Any of those players, all fine power hitters, could make a huge difference in your life. Any fan that wins at least five multiplayer games in MLB.com Home Run Derby between now and July 18 will be automatically entered in a sweepstakes that could win them a pair of tickets to the World Series.
That lure, and the promise of hours of enjoyment, make the Home Run Derby application its own best advertisement. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start swinging!
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less