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Is it possible to win when you lose?

HamendNEW 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.

---Mike Harrington

(AP Photo: Hamilton embraces 71-year-old coach/pitcher Clay Council -- whose name is misspelled on his shirt -- as Justin Morneau looks on.)

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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