Ortiz, Fielder named captains for HR Derby
Home run event will include a team competition this year
The two most recent champions of the Home Run Derby will be teaming up to take another swing. Prince Fielder and David Ortiz were named the first captains Thursday of their respective league's teams for the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby, and will take on some added responsibilities in the new-look event.
The Home Run Derby, which will take place on July 11 at Chase Field in Phoenix, will have a new element to it this year. The American League and National League will compete to see who hits more home runs, and Fielder and Ortiz will be tasked with filling out their roster of three additional sluggers.
Ortiz, the reigning champion of the Home Run Derby, has gone deep 68 times in his four appearances in the midseason extravaganza, second only to Ken Griffey Jr.'s total (74). Fielder, meanwhile, was the champion in 2009, and he's hit a total of 26 home runs in his two career Home Run Derby appearances.
While previous versions of the event have played up the AL vs. NL competition, this year will add even more of a team emphasis. Both Fielder and Ortiz will be able to pick any three players from their respective leagues to compete in the Home Run Derby, and they'll also select a charity that will benefit from their homer-hitting exploits.
State Farm and Major League Baseball have both pledged to donate significant amounts of money to charity, and $150,000 will be awarded to the winning captain's chosen cause. The Boys & Girls Club of America will receive $100,000 in the name of the winning captain, and $25,000 will be donated to the charity of the losing captain. The remainder will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club on behalf of State Farm and MLB.
State Farm and MLB will combine to donate $18,000 for every home run hit with a Gold Ball during the competition and State Farm has also pledged $3,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of America for every non-Gold homer.
The format to decide the Home Run Derby champion will be unchanged, but the total number of home runs hit by all players in all rounds will be tabulated to determine the winning league, captain and charity.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.