If you watched the Home Run Derby before Friday's All Star game in Hokkaido Dome, you were probably a bit underwhelmed by the results. The total number of home runs hit by the contestants was five, three by the Derby winner Tony Blanco. What I found interesting about the Derby was that Blanco's pitcher was Akihito Fujii, a catcher with the Tigers who was also on the All Star roster. I have no idea why Blanco had Fujii pitch to him or what the connection between the two of them is, but obviously it worked. To make a comparison, imagine if Buster Posey had been pitching to Yoenis Cespedes last Monday in New York. Yeah, it's really that weird.
Fujii's been kicking around for a while (he was drafted by the then Kintetsu Buffaloes back in the fall of 1998) but I think this is the first time he's made an All Star team. Here's his rookie card from the 1999 BBM set (#490):
If you want to see a home run that was much more impressive than what was hit Friday in the Derby, check out what Craig Brazell did last Wednesday.