Photos and thoughts from the HR Derby

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The Home Run Derby was fun. It was bizarre to be there, but not watch an actual baseball game. I mean, there we are, looking at the field, the place is packed, the National Anthem ends and no one says, ‘Play Ball.’ It was unique.

The final headcount was 43,558. David Wright compared the atmosphere to Shea Stadium during the 2006 playoffs.

“It was awesome,” Wright told reporters. “It really, really was awesome. It’s what I remember the playoff atmosphere being like in 2006. It really was pretty cool. They announced the Home Run Derby team, and, obviously, you’re hoping for cheers. To hear how loud it was, I didn’t even know when to step forward and kind of wave because I couldn’t hear [emcee] Chris Berman talking over the crowd. It was really, really special. Really special.”

The ovation Wright got when he stepped in to the box was incredible. However, for me, the best part of the night was hearing tens of thousands of Mets fans cheering, “Let’s Go Mets,” with a purpose in Citi Field. It was organic. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t a call to action from the public address system. It was just lots and lots of Mets fans, on a hot summer night, standing arm to arm, packed in to their favorite ballpark, rooting for David Wright and for everything he means to the team. It was great.

The other fascinating moment was seeing Georgia high school hitter Kel Johnson hit 11 home runs with an aluminum bat during commercial before Wright stepped to the plate. The kid was putting balls in to the third deck in left field. He hit a line drive in to the Party City Deck. It was wild. I know, I know, it was a metal bat. But, it was riveting nonetheless, especially knowing how amazing the moment had to be for him (and his teammates) taking part in this side competition all night. It also had me thinking what it would be like to see Prince Fielder, Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Davis hit with a metal bat. That would make for a crazy public relations event for the company that makes their bats…

Here are some pictures I took during the night, which I hope capture just how hot, crowded, colorful and alive the ballpark was all night (click to view as a gallery):