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At least 12 players have been suspended in connection with the Biogenesis scandal, among them several stars in unique situations. Nelson Cruz of the Rangers and Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers are both high-profile hitters on contending teams, but they're also free agents in the offseason. They could have appealed, in theory (although it doesn't appear they will), prolonging their contribution to their respective teams but potentially harming their value in the offseason. Or they could immediately accept the suspensions and enter 2014 with a clean slate. We don't envy their having to make that decision: picking what's good for the team, or what's good for the individual.

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Nelson Cruz is hitting .207 for the Rangers this postseason, but if anyone tracks feet-per-hit (and it's baseball, so we assume someone does), he would be approaching Ruthian territory. Putting aside for a moment the clutch throw he made to nail Austin Jackson at the plate and preserve a tie late in Game 4 against the Tigers, Cruz sealed a win when he became the first player in baseball history to hit two extra-inning home runs in the same postseason series.

The most feared man in Texas?

He didn't lead the team in home runs, RBIs or batting average in the regular season, but is Nelson Cruz the best bat in the lineup?


Is Cruz really this clutch?

Hank Aaron is 10th in baseball postseason history with a .710 slugging percentage. Nelson Cruz is slugging .708 in 24 games. Good company.


Nelson Cruz or Jose Juan Barea?

Speaking of seizing moments, remember Jose Juan Barea going for 22 points in Game 1 against the Thunder or 17 points in Game 5 against the Heat?


Mike Napoli or Adrian Beltre?

Cruz wasn't the only star. Mike Napoli, who hit 30 homers in the regular season, played flawless defense behind the plate and broke the tie in the top of the 11th.


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Terry and Tito Francona need not apply. Tony Gwynn and Tony Gwynn Jr. can also save the application fee. No extra credit for the third generation, so the Bells are out.

And after last night's barren performance, Brandon Inge can bring Babe Ruth back and have the Sultan of Swat adopt him, and he's still not getting another go.

Fathers playing catch with sons is an American theme. But fathers and sons crushing the heck out of the ball is smaller, less universal club. One in which Prince Fielder emphatically staked his surname's membership in Monday's Home Run Derby. Sure, it wasn't Josh Hamilton blasting off or Bobby Abreu hitting 40-plus dingers, but Fielder gave us what we wanted -- a guy swinging with enough force to put Tiger Woods to shame and occasionally hitting the ball more than 500 feet.

He also did it far more consistently than his dad, Cecil, ever did in three appearances in the Home Run Derby. But whatever their current relations, how would the Fielders fare against two other families with almost 1,000 home runs between the generations? Since we're cruelly denied a chance to vote for Jose and Danny Tartabull, we're voting Griffey.


The derby last year was 20x more interesting than last night. Last year the whole derby was filled with energy and the stadium was going crazy. I been to a Cardinals game and I do like the atmosphere there but the whole derby last night was borderline boring to watch. I also didn't like how they spent the whole night kissing up to Pujols I understand it's his home park but still it came off as staged and annoying.

-- _nysportsfan_

Yea, you won the home run derby, now do something important and reconcile with your Dad and show everybody your a real man, Cecil should have been there with to give the derby a little drama and positive feel. You can hit a ball far but can you do something hard like forgive someone. Man, the young fans could use a story like that. Shame on the powers that be for putting inge in there, it was a mockery enough with the doping.

-- rent-a-ron

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It's Nelson Cruz, Brandon Inge, Adrian Gonzalez and the greatest show in sports! All right, so part of the lineup for this year's Home Run Derby has almost as much star power as a Syfy Channel original movie (although on the plus side, much, much better special effects). But as long as guys like Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard are around, the field isn't completely barren beyond hometown hero Albert Pujols.

In fact, more people are picking someone else to win the Home Run Derby than are picking someone other than Tiger Woods to win the British Open.

And like the NBA's dunk contest, minus the props, it's the fun of the moment that makes the event. If you can name the last five winners of the event, you may have an unhealthy obsession with Miguel Tejada. It's all about hitting a lot of balls a long way. And as long as somebody challenges Pujols, and Carlos Pena doesn't try to draw a walk, we'll be fine.


I have to admit, I'm actually very excited to see what Joe Mauer does. Save for Ken Griffey Jr. ,I'm not sure there's a better looking swing in all of baseball. I don't think he'll win (not with those guys on the NL roster), but I think he'll do better than most might think for a "non-power hitter."

-- rodeojones000

So Awsome to see Inge getting whats been due to him for years. I hope he takes the whole thing.

-- AjP_

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