KARL RAVECH: On behalf of Major League Baseball, welcome to everyone who is here in attendance and those watching live on national television, the State Farm Home Run Derby will be broadcast live this evening on ESPN, ESPN Deportes TV and ESPN Radio starting at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific. We are excited for the State Farm Home Run Derby tonight, with the personalities that we have up here on stage, and certainly the power that they bring to the ballpark.
For the eight players participating in the Derby we have a new twist to the format, as we have captains of the National and American League squads. The National League is led by the 2009 State Farm Home Run Derby Champion, and that of course is Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers. And the American League team is led by the defending State Farm Home Run Derby Champion, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox.
DAVID ORTIZ: Like always.
KARL RAVECH: Fielder and Ortiz are determined their teams are going to win and they also determined their teams and invited them to participate.
From the St. Louis Cardinals is Matt Holliday, from the Los Angeles Dodgers is Matt Kemp and from the Milwaukee Brewers is Rickie Weeks.
Representing the American League and joining the captain, David Ortiz, from the Blue Jays -- this was a tough pick -- Jose Bautista; from the Yankees, Robinson Cano, and from the Red Sox, teammates Adrian Gonzalez.
In addition, each of the captains has selected a charity of their choice who they will be hitting for, and State Farm and Major League Baseball will donate a significant amount of money for charity through the event as follows: $150,000 will be awarded to the winning captain's charity in his name; $100,000 will be awarded to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the name of the winning captain; and $25,000 awarded to the charity of the captain of the losing team in his name. The remainder will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America on behalf of State Farm and Major League Baseball.
Tonight will feature the Gold Ball charitable platform. The total amount of money distributed will be determined by the home runs hit during the competition. State Farm and Major League Baseball have combined to donate $18,000 for every home run hit with a Gold Ball during the competition. The dollar figure was selected to coincide with the number of State Farm agents throughout the United States and Canada. State Farm will also give $3,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America for every non Gold Ball hit during the Derby.
As State Farm once again joins Major League Baseball in this event to raise money for a good cause, there's more and here to talk about this is Todd Fischer, State Farm's Manager of National Sponsorships.
TODD FISCHER: Thanks, it's a pleasure to be here, on behalf of nearly 18,000 State Farm agents and all of our associates across the country that go to bat for their customers in their communities every single day. We are proud to be back as part of such a great event.
Thanks to a great partnership with Major League Baseball, tonight is all about going to bat for great causes, including the Boys & Girls Club of America. Beyond the donations Karl mentioned, we continue to be inspired and humbled by the impact and help these donations have made and will continue to make in giving kids opportunities, from educational programs, to club renovations and so many more.
To further our commitment to giving back, we are proud to also announce today the continuation of a professional initiative with Major League Baseball called Go To Bat. Throughout the second half of the season, fans will have the opportunity to go to bat for their favorite charities and also, at the same time, have a chance to win a trip to the 2011 World Series. To participate and for more information, please visit www.StateFarm.com/gotobat.
I would like to say thank you to all of you that are here for the continued support to the State Farm Home Run Derby. We clearly make an impact, and thanks to these eight guys, because without them lending their time and talents to giving back, we would not be here today, so we look forward to a great event. Thank you.
KARL RAVECH: Major League Baseball and State Farm also are teaming up with local area Boys & Girls Clubs. We have eight youngsters down here in the front, from the eight clubs in the Phoenix region, and we will be pairing each of them up with a player in tonight's State Farm Home Run Derby. The one whose player wins the Derby will receive a $50,000 donation towards a team center at his or her club, compliments of State Farm. While that youngster will be the big winner, everyone wins as each of the other seven boys and girls represented will receive a $10,000 donation from State Farm towards a team center.
I want to introduce the youngsters to reveal who they will be paired with this evening. From the Grant Woods Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, Antawn Mitchell is paired with Rickie Weeks.
From the Rose Lane Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, Eric Melbostad is paired with Matt Kemp. Matt, we have found somebody that is just about as tall as you are.
From the Hartley and Ruth Barker Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, Claudia Mendoza is played with Matt Holliday.
From the Spencer D. & Mary Jane Stewart Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, Bailey Turner is paired with Prince Fielder.
From the Wisotsky Peoria Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan, Rafael Miranda Fettig is paired with David Ortiz.
From the Thunderbirds Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of East Valley, Adrianna Henderson Peterson is paired with Adrian Gonzalez.
From the Lehi Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, Raquelle Enos is paired with Robinson Cano.
From the Gilbert Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, Damian Gonzales is paired with Jose Bautista.
In another new development this year, for the first time ever during the Derby, players will be using social media live from the field. Players can Tweet from the field and upload media and for those not on Twitter, there will be tables set up where they can interact with the @MLB and @MLB_Players accounts, among others. Fans can follow along by searching the hashtag #HRDerby.
Q. Jose, were you greatly disappointed not to be selected last year, considering how good your numbers were prior to the All-Star Break?
JOSE BAUTISTA: I wouldn't say greatly, but I definitely would have enjoyed participating. But more importantly, I'm part of the event now, and it's going to be a lot of fun. So hopefully we can get to hit a million home runs today and raise a lot of money for these guys.
DAVID ORTIZ: I was disappointed (laughter).
KARL RAVECH: If you were the captain, you would have picked him last year.
DAVID ORTIZ: Oh, yeah.
Q. What is your lineup card for tonight?
DAVID ORTIZ: Well, in my situation, I still have a little bit of discussion later on, one of my boys -- he's been out there from the very beginning, so we have to work with that -- I can get him out of the way. But it's going to be either -- I could even start or Cano, Gonzo, depends, maybe Jose is a little nervous (laughter).
KARL RAVECH: While you think about your lineup, how about the names of your charity, and your charity, Prince. Why don't you tell us your charities.
DAVID ORTIZ: Well, we have David Ortiz Children's Fund that we have in the Dominican Republic.
PRINCE FIELDER: Mine is Ronald McDonald House.
Q. If you have participated in a Home Run Derby in the Minor Leagues or any place, and which in a tournament like this have you already won?
DAVID ORTIZ: Well I've been in it a few times (answering in Spanish).
KARL RAVECH: Does the National League side in English want to answer that?
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah, you know, the Home Run Derby is awesome, I did it in '09 and the kids were there. So for me that was special to have my kids there, jumping up and down giving me high fives. Winning tonight would be cool, as well. Yeah, I've done it a couple of times but I don't think Matt and Rickie have done it yet. So I think yeah, they will be excited.
Q. This is the Latino American League team. Tell me about that.
DAVID ORTIZ: This is Major League Baseball, and you've got your choice, and I think I have the best picks out of all. Of course, you've got your boys, it's been a little hard to participate through the years, so my friends right here, they told me, if you want me to be here, I'll be there for you.
Q. I wanted to ask the National League guys and Adrian Gonzalez, how you would rate Chase Field as a hitter's park.
MATT KEMP: For him (looking at Rickie Weeks), this is lovely. It's definitely a hitter's park, the ball flies. There's going to be some balls hit pretty far today. Some hit in the pool. They have got a pool in right center. They have got a restaurant out there that I've seen some balls hit out there. The ball flies pretty much and it's definitely going to be exciting.
KARL RAVECH: The longest home run in the Home Run Derby was 528 feet, so that might fall tonight. That was from Sammy Sosa back in 2002.
Q. Adrian, Keith Veltre (ph) said he might be playing a part in helping you win; what might his role be?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: I know he's going to be cheering me and giving me a lot of encouragement. I hope Reese (ph) is around, he's always around the last few years in San Diego and he's a joy to be around.
So you know I'm interested to see what he meant, as well, but you know, he's definitely a great -- he was a great teammate and he's going to be a guy that will be there when we celebrate. It will be fun.
Q. Jose, you've had more home runs over the last 18 months than any baseball player; 7 .5 million people voted you here; what can we expect from you in the Home Run Derby?
JOSE BAUTISTA: It's always hard to predict. Hopefully I don't hit the ball too far. If I get in a groove I'm excited to find out what I can do, as well.
Like Matt said, this is a good stadium to hit home runs in; the ball flies. I brought my bullpen pitcher from batting practice today, and we get in sync sometimes and I get to hit a couple of balls pretty hard. His name is Alex Andrapos (ph), and I'm excited.
KARL RAVECH: 41 home runs was the record, Bobby Abreu in Detroit. 41 and 528 feet, those are the numbers you're taking to the ballpark tonight.
Q. I know that this wasn't made by design, but it's basically the Gringos against the Latinos. (Laughter)
KARL RAVECH: Was there a question in that? (Laughter.)
MATT KEMP: Americans versus the Latins. We were just discussing that. Good luck, guys.
KARL RAVECH: On behalf of Major League Baseball and State Farm, I want to thank everybody here for attending, good luck this evening, and to you guys.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.