David Ortiz was named the captain of the American League Home Run Derby squad, and likely for good reason: he's the veteran presence. This will be his fifth Home Run Derby, and he is also the defending champion -- he hit 32 home runs in last year's Derby in Anaheim (eight in round one, 13 in round two and 11 in the finals) to defeat Hanley Ramirez.
He's also participated in three other Home Run Derbies, finishing fourth in 2005 and 2006 and eighth in his first one, in 2004, when he tied for last with Hank Blalock by hitting only three.
Since then, of course, Ortiz has helped lead his Red Sox teams to a pair of World Series and has hit the fourth-most home runs of anyone in the major leagues (279; only Adam Dunn, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols have more). Ortiz is also second all-time in most Home Run Derby homers, with 68. Ken Griffey Jr. had 70, so unless Ortiz has a real power outage Monday night, he should break that mark.
Ortiz was also named captain of this year's AL Home Run Derby team, and, mimicking the NHL All-Star Game pickup motif from earlier this year, was allowed to choose his teammates; he picked Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista and Adrian Gonzalez. Our colleagues at SB Nation Boston noted this about Ortiz's selections:
In an interesting turn, the American League Derby team isn't American at all - Ortiz, Cano and Bautista are all from the Dominican Republic, while Gonzalez is a native Mexican. The National League team of [Prince] Fielder and [Rickie] Weeks, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp ... and Matt Holliday? All American.
The 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park in Detroit matched sluggers from eight different countries. But this one could be termed "USA vs. the World".