This year’s Home Run Derby takes place at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., as part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities. ESPN again provides live coverage of the Derby, airing Monday, July 11, at 8pm ET. This year features a new format, with the last two Derby winners — Prince Fielder and David Ortiz — serving as captains and selecting their teammates. The Derby will have an AL vs. NL component, as well as an individual Derby champ. Fielder selected Brewers teammate 2B Rickie Weeks, Dodgers OF Matt Kemp and Cardinals OF Matt Holliday for the NL team. For the AL, Ortiz picked Red Sox teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Yankees 2B Robinson Cano and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. Ortiz bested fellow Dominican Hanley Ramirez in last year’s final.
Oh, and ESPN’s Chris Berman once again hosts the Derby. Hopefully, he’ll put the lid on some of the “Back! Back! Back!” stuff. But probably not. Here’s the release and more programming details from ESPN:
ESPN to Present 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby
New ESPN commentator team for Derby; Extensive MLB All-Star coverage across ESPN platforms; ESPN Radio to exclusively broadcast 82nd MLB All-Star Game & Home Run Derby
ESPN’s extensive Major League Baseball All-Star coverage from Chase Field – home of the Arizona Diamondbacks – will be highlighted by the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby Monday, July 11, at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT). This is ESPN’s 14th consecutive year of live Derby coverage and 19th straight overall. The Derby – also available via ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Radio, ESPN 3D and ESPN Deportes – is traditionally one of ESPN’s highest-rated summer programs.
The 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby will feature a new format with each of the last two Derby winners – Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and Boston’s David Ortiz – serving as the first-ever captains of the National League and American League Derby squads, respectively. Fielder and Ortiz both announced their three Derby teammates during SportsCenter on July 5.
Fielder will be joined by Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Milwaukee teammate Rickie Weeks and St. Louis slugger Matt Holliday, with Ortiz joined by Toronto’s Jose Bautista, Boston teammate Adrian Gonzalez and New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. An individual and team champion will be crowned with the format to determine the individual champion unchanged from previous competitions.
ESPN’s Chris Berman will return as host of the Derby, joined for the first time by ESPN analysts John Kruk (Baseball Tonight) and Nomar Garciaparra (Baseball Tonight and Wednesday Night Baseball). Buster Olney and Pedro Gomez will provide on-field reports.
ESPN Radio will exclusively broadcast the Derby with Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton in the booth, on-field reporters John Rooney and Peter Pascarelli and on-site host Marc Kestecher.
ESPN 3D will televise the Derby for the second consecutive year with Gary Thorne providing commentary with analysts Aaron Boone, guest analyst and former Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star Luis Gonzalez and reporter Wendi Nix. The Derby will also be available on ESPN Deportes with commentary from Ernesto Jerez (play-by-play), analysts Luis Alfredo Alvarez and Candy Maldonado and reporter Guillermo Celis.
A special edition of Baseball Tonight, with host Karl Ravech, analysts Barry Larkin and Bobby Valentine and reporter Olney will be televised the evening of the Derby at 7 p.m. The Baseball Tonight crew will also contribute analysis at times during the Derby telecast.
New Home Run Derby Production Elements
Production enhancements developed by ESPN Emerging Technology include:
- an updated distance tracking system, which will also be available on ESPN.com, providing accurate distance readings immediately after the ball lands;
- a new virtual graphics package displaying distance and home run markers, lending more options for analysts when describing batter tendencies, hot zones, etc.;
- ESPN Ball Track displaying the trail of the ball once hit and allowing the ability for hit chart graphics to be created for a particular hitter.
82nd MLB All-Star Game on ESPN Radio & ESPN Deportes Radio
In addition to the Derby, ESPN Radio (7:45 p.m.) will exclusively broadcast the 82nd All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 12. Sciambi will provide commentary with analyst Singleton and reporters Rooney and Pascarelli. Marc Kestecher will serve as the on-site host. Additionally, ESPN Deportes Radio, the only Spanish-language sports radio network in the U.S., will also broadcast the All-Star Game. Commentary will be provided by Renato Bermudez with analysis from Jose Francisco Rivera.
2011 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game
Immediately following the State Farm Home Run Derby, ESPN will present the 2011 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, hosted by Erin Andrews and James Denton (Desperate Housewives). The game is also available live via ESPN3.com on Sunday, July 10 at 9:30 p.m. Legends will include Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers, Fred Lynn, Rickey Henderson, Mike Piazza and Steve Garvey. Celebrities scheduled to participate include Nick Jonas (Jonas Brothers), Jason Aldean (recording artist), Kate Upton (model), Jordin Sparks (American Idol), Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Greg Grunberg (Love Bites, Heroes), Jennie Finch (USA gold medal softball player) and Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals). The 2011 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game is available on ESPN Mobile TV on Monday, July 11, following the Derby.
2011 XM All-Star Futures Game
All-Star coverage will begin with the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 10, at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV. The rosters include a field of top-notch prospects led by Bryce Harper from the Nationals organization. Thorne will call the game with Monday Night Baseball analysts Rick Sutcliffe and Boone and reporters Gomez and Keith Law.
SportsCenter & Baseball Tonight All-Star Coverage
Baseball Tonight will be on site throughout 2011 MLB All-Star in Phoenix – from a set inside Chase Field – including a Home Run Derby preview show Monday, July 11, at 7 p.m. Baseball Tonight will also preview All-Star action each day and provide post-event recaps with highlights, news and information, including Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game. Baseball Tonight commentators will appear throughout the day on SportsCenter and other news and information shows.
The 6 p.m. SportsCenter on Monday and Tuesday will present live batting practice reports and previews from the State Farm Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. The late-night SportsCenters will provide live post-Derby and post-game analysis and interviews. Berman will host SportsCenter coverage following the All-Star Game, with Ravech anchoring all other segments from Phoenix. On-site analysts will include Kruk, Larkin, Garciaparra and Valentine and reporters Olney, Kurkjian and Nix.
ESPN.com will offer comprehensive coverage including a 2011 MLB All-Star Game home page. Highlights include:
- “Ultimate Home Run Derby,” a 32-slugger SportsNation bracket allowing ESPN.com users to vote for the best home run hitter in each matchup. The champion will be announced on July 11, hours before the Derby telecast;
- Home Run Derby Tracker, a customized version of GameCast available live during the Derby. It includes Home Run Derby Live, an in-progress chat;
- “Swing of Beauty,” a feature capturing the swings of four Home Run Derby participants using animation from MLB The Show 11;
- an All-Star roundtable;
- video blogs;
- previews & predictions;
- Chase Field tour;
- Keith Law’s Futures Game breakdown.
- ESPN.com reporters and analysts on site will include Jayson Stark, Jim Caple, Jerry Crasnick, Law, Jim Bowden, Amy K. Nelson and Christina Kahrl.
ESPN Mobile will provide complete coverage of All-Star events on the Mobile Web and ScoreCenter app, offering interactive live chats and blogs from the All-Star Game, Derby and Futures Game. ESPN Mobile’s hot corner will supply All-Star news from Phoenix and offer the chance to have questions answered by MLB All-Stars. In addition to the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, ESPN Mobile TV will offer video highlights of All-Star events and live editions of Baseball Tonight.
ESPNDeportes.com and ESPN The Magazine will also provide All-Star coverage.
ESPN International will offer live coverage of the All-Star Game and Futures Game on its networks serving Latin America (South America, Central America, Mexico, Brazil and the Caribbean), Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand. Coverage of the Derby will be available in these regions, plus Australia. Australia will also air the Futures Games on a delay. ESPN America, the only European network dedicated to North American sports, will televise the All-Star Game, Futures Game and Home Run Derby to 43 countries.