Baxter the Bobcat channels Goldschmidt in HR contest

Baxter the Bobcat channels Goldschmidt in HR contest

Baxter the Bobcat channels Goldschmidt in HR contest

NEW YORK -- Baxter the Bobcat showed his muscles, slugging his way to the Mascot Home Run Derby finals with an unbeatable performance.

The second of four rounds of the event was held Saturday at the T-Mobile FanFest inside the Jacob K. Javits Center. Baxter, from the Arizona Diamondbacks, beat Bernie Brewer, Oakland's Stomper and the White Sox's Southpaw as they all tried to hit balls off a tee and out of the park.

Each mascot was paired up with a child from the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens. Denis Dwyer, the club's program director, said the kids were chosen based on their interest level in baseball.


"They were totally excited," Dwyer said. "Mascots are fun; they were fired up."

As the mascots competed against one another on The Diamond presented by T-Mobile, their teammates sat on the side of the field and hoped their mascot brought his A-game.

Baxter appeared to be the only one who took batting practice beforehand.

Bernie struggled to hit homers, and Southpaw had trouble even making contact, a couple times hitting the tee and not the ball. And Stomper simply could not give Baxter a fight, either.

But Baxter looked like he picked up some hitting tips from watching Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who has 21 home runs this season. Baxter hit seven home runs in the first round, cruising to the win from there.

He made sure to soak in the spotlight, even stopping during his round to do some pushups.

Adrian Gonzalez, 12, from Queens, N.Y., was Baxter's teammate and will be back with Baxter on Monday. Gonzalez said he was excited to participate but understood it was all just for fun.

"It feels good," Gonzalez said. "It really didn't matter who was going to win, because it's just a game. I had fun."

As the competition progressed, fans lined the outside of the field to watch. The mascots who were not hitting stood in the field, many times trying to distract their competition at the plate.

But nothing could throw Baxter off his game.

For the kids from the Boys and Girls Club, the Home Run Derby was only a part of a fun day at FanFest. The interactive theme park provided plenty of entertainment as they geared up for Tuesday's All-Star Game at Citi Field.

"The whole event, there are a lot neat little things they can do," Dwyer said.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 84th 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. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.