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Come Meet The 2011 King of Cork – What’s 5 Bucks!!

First off, I hope everyone enjoyed the most amazing night of baseball in a long time. In case you missed it on Wednesday August 28, home field advantage for 4 different teams was within 1 game. The Brewers clinched home field advantage with a win (after the Dbacks had a ridiculous walk off grand slam on Tuesday night to keep the deficit to 1 game). The Tigers also clinched home field advantage with a victory themselves on Wednesday. Even more intense was the fact that both wildcard races were tied and came down to the results of 4 different games. Three of which went into extra innings and all three of those had blown saves. And the last hit of the regular season determined who we would be watching in the playoffs. The Red Sox and Braves collapses became complete. And the Rays erased a 7-0 deficit to the devil Yankees in the 8th to win on a walk-off home run.

BUT… if you thought that those games were the only drama on Wednesday night, you may have forgotten how close our Home Run Derby contest was. Geez has been a staple at the top of the leader board since about June and he took home the title for the First Half with Prince Fielder trying to carry both his team and the Brewers to destiny. But along came the Rays What’s 5 bucks? who also packed the power of Fielder but had Braun, Reynolds, and Longoria to help share Fielder’s load. What’s 5 bucks? hit 82 home runs in the second half of the season (good enough for the second half title by 6 long balls). His team hit 32 homers in the last month (which was 5 more than anybody else and over 10 more than the league average in September) which helped him overcome a 10 home run deficit between him and first place.

Going into this epic Wednesday night (everyone over uses the term ‘epic’ these days, but seriously, that’s how great Wednesday night’s baseball was) , What’s 5 bucks? was 1 home run back from Geez but was also losing in the tie-breaker. With the Yankees up 7-0 in the 8th over the Rays, no one could have predicted what would happen next. The Rays managed to score 6 runs where 3 came off of a Longoria home run (+1 for What’s 5 bucks? equals a tie for first but losing the tie-breaker). Dan Johnson then hit a pinch hit home run with 2 outs in the 9th to send the game into extras. Remaining scoreless until the bottom of the 12th inning when Longoria got to bat again. He roped a line drive down the left field line and cleared the half-wall (seriously, the wall is only half the height of the rest of the wall for only the first 5-6 feet in left field) for a walk off home run clinching the Rays playoff spot and the Home Run Derby Title for What’s 5 bucks?. Meanwhile just 3 minutes prior to this home run, the Red Sox blew a save and watched the Oriole’s walk off with their post season dreams. I’m sure Geez was the only one of us who could sympathize with how the Boston players felt that night.

If that isn’t an exciting night of baseball, then you need to check your pulse. So there you have it… What’s 5 bucks? wins the 2011 Home Run Derby Title with 165 home runs. The ‘rumor’ is that last season’s Derby winner ($5 Donation) had to persuade What’s 5 bucks? to even play this year (hence, the team name). But this is all hear-say to The Commish. Not to be ashamed of his team, Geez put on a great performance all year but fell 1 out short on Wednesday night… twice. He will take home the First Half title, and the 2011 Derby’s first loser award. My team of Cream City’s Murderers’ Row just couldn’t put a last minute charge together but managed to hang onto third. Fourth place in the derby goes to Big Poppe’s Pill-Poppers. And fifth place in the 2011 Derby goes to ADRIAN GOES LONGoria (who also got into the Derby Hall of Fame on the last home run by Longoria to topple last year’s major collapse team of The Inglourious Batters).

So that’s the Derby season. Everyone can now check out the standings and see where their picks went wrong and how had they gone with their gut and chose Pujols over Dunn, they would be reaping the rewards at this point. Instead, now we all get to enjoy some great playoff baseball (I’ve already got my Brewer tickets because who knows when they will ever be back). Thanks to all the new comers this season. Thanks to all of the returning teams for keeping the Derby alive. As long as all of you stay interested, there will be a 2012 Home Run Derby. Hopefully with more teams, better blogging (I slacked on that this season, I apologize), and more site extras (I’m still working on a mobile site and a Droid App).

Please check back often as I do still post stories in the playoffs and in the off-season (usually at a slower rate, but probably at the same rate as the regular season this year). And GO BREW CREW!!!

HR Derby August In-Review: Women Prove They Know Long Balls

I’m finding that one of my favorite things about hosting this competition is learning how many baseball fans there are walking amongst my everyday life.

Many of you may not know this, but I would say I ‘know’ just over 50% of the teams in this season’s competition. By ‘know’ I mean, I have face to go with a name and have more than one random conversation with that person a year. You guys are awesome at spreading this ridiculous amazingly simple but stressful game by word of mouth. For most of the entries, I do have a face with the name. And hopefully at some point, I will have the opportunity to lower the ‘Seven Degrees of The Commish‘ to the One Degree. For example, I got introduced to The Geez at a casino that was 90 miles away from both of our residences while I was on another entrant’s bachelor party. Random!

I also enjoy seeing the diversity in the competitors trying to flex their ‘knowledge muscles’ on the power hitters of the MLB including the ladies trying to prove that Chicks really do dig the long ball. In fact, they dominated the month of August and are lighting up the Second Half leader board.

With five months in the books (and less than 30 days to go), the month of August had 899 home runs (no other month this year has topped 800), so its no surprise that twenty derby teams had 30+ homers in the month. Of those twenty, four of our eight female competitors get that nod AND three of those four hit either the most (36) or second most (35) in the month. The twenty teams hitting more than 30 in August have given themselves a great shot at winning the Second Half.

The Overall Standings are still up in the air. The Geez has a strong hold on first place, and pending an epic Pittsburgh Pirate collapse, he should finish in the top 5. There are more than a dozen teams still within striking distance (10 home runs) of second place and any team can have just one ‘off’ month (just ask F! The Cubs or Pick Me Out A Winner Bobby). And if you don’t believe in a September collapses, ask last year’s mid-August leader, The Inglorious Batters, and how his team finished (spoiler alert: it wasn’t in the top-3). Yours truly is riding high as The Commish is currently in second place and totally redeeming my pathetic 2010 season. My derby team name seems to have also sparked the real Cream City Murders’ Row (Hart, Braun, Fielder) as the Brewers are 11 wins from clinching their first division title since 1982 thanks to those three’s corked bats. Currently in Third place is What’s 5 Bucks. His team name was inspired by the 2010 derby champ, who was applying some peer pressure for more contestants to enter, using the line “what’s 5 bucks?” And in his second season, What’s 5 Bucks wins the ‘most improved team award’ by jumping from 5th from the bottom to currently in the top-3 (I apologize if I just jinxed your team).

There is still plenty to come this baseball season (Strasmania is just around the corner). So, enjoy the fireworks over the last month of the season. And remember to tip your bartenders this Sunday as football kicks-off.

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