After Friday’s practice, the Seahawks returned to the practice field for a spirited Home Run Derby that went seven swings into a swing-off before Charlie Whitehurst won it.
When Pete Carroll became the Seahawks’ coach in January, he brought his “Always Compete” mantra with him.
Friday, following a nearly two-hour practice in full pads, the players took that challenge back to the practice fields for a Home Run Derby. And, the winner wasn’t crowned until the seventh swing in a match-swing tiebreaker – and a bevy of balls had kissed off and even carried over the berm adjacent to the fields.
Charlie Whitehurst won it, with his 13th towering drive, when Ricky Foley’s final swing fell just short of the fence. Whitehurst, representing the quarterbacks, and Foley, swinging for the defensive linemen, each hit three homers in the first round to advance to the finals with linebacker Will Herring.
In the finals, Whitehurst and Foley each hit four homers in five swings to advance to the swing-off.
“It’s the consistency, that’s hard to do that,” Carroll said of Whitehurst and Foley jacking 13 and 12 home runs in 17 swings. “And to match like they did and go into about quadruple overtime, that was fantastic.”
To the victors go, well, a dinner for the winning unit on Carroll – who was saved considerable cash by Whitehurst’s final swing, because there are three quarterbacks on the roster compared to 13 defensive linemen.
“Always willing to help out the coach,” Whitehurst said.
So, was the determining factor simply superior athletic ability at the quarterback position? “Yeah, I think so,” Whitehurst said with a straight face.
“Foley looks a little more like a softball player than I do,” he added. “But it’s about consistency, and I was able to hit one more than he did.”
Not, however, before there was ample showmanship. On his fourth swing in the tiebreaker, after Whitehurst had come up short, Foley pointed to the fence – a la Babe Ruth. But his ball also was just short.
“I had a little showmanship, probably too much,” he said. “Will (Herring) said to point when I had a chance to win it. But it was all in good fun.”
Whitehurst and Foley played baseball growing up, even if Whitehurst is from Georgia and Foley from Toronto.
“I don’t know if Ricky has even played baseball,” Carroll said. “Isn’t he from Canada?”
He is; where hockey is the national pastime – and passion.
“That’s a cliché,” Foley said. “I played a lot of baseball growing up. It was probably my best sport.”
Others who competed for their units, with first-round homers in parenthesis: safety Lawyer Milloy (2), fullback Owen Schmitt (2), punter Jon Ryan (2), assistant coach Luke “Barefoot” Butkus (2), wide receiver Isaiah Stanback (1), tackle Joe Toledo (1) and tight end Anthony McCoy (1).
“I thought the competition was perfect,” Carroll said. “That was the perfect night out here for our first Home Run Derby.”