If you believe the ESPN verdict, last night's Home Run Derby was unequivocally 'The Best Ever.' While there are likely good arguments to the contrary (Josh Hamilton), based on pure competitive drama--Yankees/RedSox, Walk-off, come-from-behind, win-- the 2011 version may have been good as any.
As for new additions for 2011 format, the AL vs. NL format did not add much--the AL won 76-19. The addition of the live tweeting, however, did provide an interesting and novel connection to the event. We liked MLB's latest effort in social media enough that we decided to put together the first-ever recap of the Social HR Derby.
In addition to the data at the bottom of the post, we aggregated and curated (as we like to do) tweet highlights from the evening that we thought worthy of an honorific. As for the data, the graph below shows that the NL was about 20% more active during the derby, tapping out 62 tweets to the AL's 48. For the NL, Hunter Pence and Brandon Phillips (neither of whom participated) led the way with 16 each. For the AL, Big Papi and C.J. Wilson tweeted the most, with 11 and 13, respectively. Notably absent was the NL Captain Prince Fielder.
There were several notable items from the 26th(?) annual HRD. Most notable was Cano Sr. having the biggest moment under the lights of a Major League Ballpark: Career Numbers: 1-1, 5.09 ERA in 23IP for the for 1989 Astros. The fan that caught a HR while diving into the pool, and managed NOT TO spill his beer, may have been the most impressive achievement of the night, aside from Cano's 470-ft bomb. It is certainly one that won't repeated anytime soon, if ever, in a Home Run Derby.