07/14/2003 11:48 PM ET
Boone comes up empty in Derby
Mariners All-Star takes homer shutout in stride
CHICAGO -- It was difficult to tell which experience was more humbling for Bret Boone on Monday night -- the shutout or the whiff.
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
Boone endured the shutout in the first round of the Century 21 Home Run Derby, as the Seattle Mariners second baseman eliminated himself by not clearing the U.S. Cellular Field wall with any of his 10 swings against pitcher Dave Valle.
Boone also happened to miss one of Valle's unchallenging pitches, which guaranteed him plenty of ribbing from teammates and friends watching on national television.
"I don't even want to check my voicemail," Boone said.
Consistent with his character, Boone managed to joke about his forgettable performance in the competition that Anaheim's Garret Anderson captured with a 9-8 victory over St. Louis' Albert Pujols.
"It's nice that I was asked (to participate)," said Boone, who ranks third in the American League with 24 homers. "And maybe the next time I'll think twice about saying yes."
Boone poked fun at Valle, a Mariners broadcaster and former Major League catcher, by blaming him for his futility. "Without a doubt, it wasn't me. It was definitely David," said Boone, who invited Valle to participate.
Asked what he expected from Boone, Valle quipped, "A bus ticket home."
A serious analysis might reveal that excitement overcame Boone more than Valle's pitching.
"He was pretty hyped up," Valle said.
Said Boone, "He throws a really straight ball. He put them right there."
Though Boone had never faced Valle, he refused to use that as an excuse. "If you're not clicking with the guy throwing batting practice, it's a tough thing," Boone said.
Boone returned to humor to discuss the pitch he missed: "He threw me a changeup."
Ultimately, Boone managed to find some solace. "I got a lot of hits," he said. "I was 8-for-10, with a couple of doubles right down the line."
That's great in baseball, but not so hot in a home run hitting contest.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.