DENVER -- National League Gillette Home Run Derby captain Troy Tulowitzki appears to be reserving a spot for teammate Justin Morneau after Tuesday's update revealed the Rockies' first baseman held an early edge in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian.
Although he wouldn't directly say Morneau is his first choice, Tulowitzki said he is considering him for the final opening on the NL Derby roster after selecting the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig, the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton and the Reds' Todd Frazier Tuesday.
Morneau won the 2008 Home Run Derby in Yankee Stadium by out-hitting Josh Hamilton, 5-3, in the final round. During an interview on MLB Network's Intentional Talk Tuesday, Morneau reflected on becoming the first Canadian-born player to win the event two rounds after Hamilton hit a Derby single-round record 28 home runs.
"I'm glad there's footage of that because I don't think too many people would remember that I won that thing," Morenau said. "But that was a lot of fun."
Now six years later, Morneau can still remember being in awe of Hamilton's performance.
"I had the best seat in the house for that thing," Morneau said. "That was unbelievable, the show that he put on … He had the whole Yankee Stadium chanting his name. It's not too often a visiting player gets that in that place."
Now, if Morneau holds his Final Vote lead, Tulowitzki could have a champion's experience on his Derby team.
"If [Morneau] wins that Final Vote, it's a good chance it'll make a good storyline," said Tulowitzki of the long-time Twin. "He's definitely on the list if he makes the team. There are some other guys as well that have lobbied, and they'll make good choices."
Tulowitzki said he hasn't spoken to Morneau about the possibility of participating in the Derby if he loses the Final Vote race. But that won't be a problem as long as fans continue to push for Morneau.
"I think it'd be nice because he's on my team and he's from Minnesota," Tulowitzki said. "But at the same time there are other guys that are very deserving as well."
A new format has been installed for this year's Derby, as the five players from each league will receive seven outs instead of the usual 10 in each round. In the first round, the player who hits the most homers in each league will receive an automatic bye to the third round (semifinals). The next two players from each league with the most homers will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round, with the two winners advancing to the semifinals against the league's top performer from the first round.
The final round will be a showdown between the AL and NL's best. If necessary, the first tiebreaker would allow the finalists three swings apiece.
If you can't wait for the actual Derby, the MLB.com Home Run Derby mobile game is a good way to immerse yourself in the action immediately, with Target Field serving as the setting. The game is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play. New for 2014 is Multiplayer Derby Mode, Achievements and Objectives.
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
Fans can also cast votes on the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the Final Vote ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. For example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the third consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include social balloting participation, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners. Fans will be able to follow @MLB for the latest standings updates over the course of the entire four-day voting period.
The hashtags and text designations are as follows:
Dallas Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Corey Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Rick Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Garrett Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Chris Sale: #TargetSale (A5)
Casey McGehee: #VoteHitsMcGehee (N1)
Justin Morneau: #VoteMorneau (N2)
Anthony Rendon: #VoteRendon (N3)
Anthony Rizzo: #VoteRizzo (N4)
Justin Upton: #VoteJUp (N5)
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose 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 and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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.
Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less