When Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz were battling personal struggles this season, they sent words of encouragement to each other through text messages.
On Monday night, they didn't need their cellphones. With smiles, laughs and pats on the back, the former Red Sox teammates and native Dominicans reached the final round of the Home Run Derby, where Ortiz prevailed 11-5 over the Marlins shortstop.
``It was a lot of fun,'' said Ramirez, who slugged 26 homers in all and became the first Marlins player to reach the final of the derby.
Before Monday, Miguel Cabrera had the record for a Marlins player with 15 homers in 2006, when he finished
2008 with six homers, and Gary Sheffield, who failed to hit a home run in 1996.
Hanley did good and during the competition held true to his swing, for the the most part. He was very selective and only went after pitches he thought he could hit out without adjustments. That is a very good thing. In the end he started to wear down, but that is normal. Hanley represented the Marlins very well.
I must say this, during one of the rounds where he was batting and ESPN wasn't busy airing an interview, one of the "expert" commentators said: After the non-hustle play, Hanley started hustling and the team got hot.
Oh, really, the team got hot?! When?! Did I miss it?!
Let's see, that play happened on May 17 and since that time the Marlins have gone 22-27. Now, I don't know what ESPN considers to be hot, but I hardly think the Fish qualify under any normal definition.
Nonetheless, Hanley had a good night swinging for the fences.