NEW YORK -- Wish I had asked that question. Some sharpie in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse just asked that of Josh Hamilton because there were no losers in the All-Star Home Run Derby. Not with the way Hamilton thrilled a packed ballpark and a national TV audience with a record 28 home runs in the first round even though Justin Morneau was the overall winner.
Hamilton agreed there was no loser. He told anyone who would listen Monday that soon after he became sober in late 2005 after years of drug and alcohol abuse, he had a dream about being in a derby in Yankee Stadium. Spooky.
"I said after the first round if I don't hit another ball out or don't win this, I'm not going to be disappointed," he said. "Obviously, it's human nature but we accomplished what we wanted. That dream I had sharing Christ with people, I didn't see how many home runs I hit in that dream or whether I was a winner or not. The Lord doesn't care about that. All he cares about is us glorifying him. I got that chance to tonight.''
Hamilton said he was pretty pooped in rounds two and three, trying to swing too hard rather than just relax like he did in round one. After those 28 taters, he went inside the Yankees clubhouse to sit down but David Ortiz came in and told him to get up and keep sweating.
Hamilton couldn't come close to the first round but it didn't matter. I'm usually a big thumbs-down to the derby. Not on this night.
"This is Yankee Stadium. I'm thinking [about] Babe Ruth, or Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio or whoever," Hamilton said. "To be here tonight and just see the way the crowd responded and to see my family up there being able to hear and experience that was the best thing I could ever ask for."
Hamilton was asked if he was going to watch ESPN's late-night replay.
"I rarely watch myself," Hamilton said. "But damn, I think that would be pretty cool."
Yep, the whole thing was pretty cool.
(AP Photo: Hamilton embraces 71-year-old coach/pitcher Clay Council -- whose name is misspelled on his shirt -- as Justin Morneau looks on.)