Fielder, Weeks fail to connect in Home Run Derby
PHOENIX – Things didn't go completely to plan for Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks Monday in the All-Star Home Run Derby, but there were no complaints when all was said and done.
Weeks managed just three home runs in his outing, which was greeted with a chorus of boos and chants of "we want Upton" from fans wanting to see hometown favorite Justin Upton, who was not selected for the team by Fielder, the NL captain.
"You never want anybody booing you at an All-Star Game," Weeks said. "I guess I could understand about it. It is what it is."
When Weeks, did connect, though, he hit the ball hard, twice striking the facade of the second-deck restaurant in left field.
"The whole thing was fun," Weeks said. "As a kid, you see it on TV growing up and getting the chance to be in a Home Run Derby was cool."
The biggest adjustment, he said, was getting used to the fact that there was no batting cage around him, unlike in batting practice.
"The first time doing it was a little weird," Weeks said. "It kind of caught me off guard a little bit. As I got going, I got a little acclimated to it."
Fielder, meanwhile, finished the first round tied with Matt Holliday and Robinson Cano with five home runs. In a five-swing tiebreaker, he homered five times to advance to the second round.
He hit only four, though, in the semis and was unable to advance to the finals for the second time in three years, though he did hit the longest home run of the night, a 474-foot shot to right field.
Fielder, especially, drew the wrath of the partisan Arizona crowd throughout the night. They started booing him from the moment he stepped into the cage for batting practice and didn't let up until his tie-breaker performance.
Fielder's sons, with him on the field during introductions, were wondering why their father, beloved back home in Milwaukee, was suddenly getting jeered.
"They were mad," Fielder said. "They wanted to fight."
Fielder and Weeks took the jeering in good nature, laughing it off and not letting it detract from the experience and Fielder said that ultimately, it was an understandable reaction.
"I didn't pick one of their players," Fielder said. "You expect that, because it means a lot to them. But I'm alright. It was a lot of fun."
In some ways, it was only natural that both Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks represented the Brewers Monday night in the 2011 All-Star Home Run Derby at Chase Field.
The two close friends grew up playing baseball together, first as youngsters on various AAU teams in Florida and later, as highly-rated prospects in the Brewers' system before finally establishing themselves as cornerstones of the franchise's turnaround over the last few years; in fact, they even hit their first major league home runs in the same game.
"It was cool," Fielder said. "When you play with somebody since you were 12, and now we're both starting in the All-Star Game ... it's cool."
The finals rekindled baseball's fiercest rivalry, pitting the Yankees' Cano against Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox. The crowd, which aside from heckling the Brewers, had been silent most of the night but came to life as Gonzalez socked 11 home runs during his final go-round and then Cano surpassed him with 12 to take the title.
The American League dominated the competition with 76 homers to the National League's 19.
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