Small balls: Hamilton up, Nolan down

La première étoile: I’m sorry Justin Morneau. You actually won the Home Run Derby—first Canadian to ever do so. By right, the first star should belong to you. (Christ, you weren’t even invited until Sunday, after A-Rod and Jason Giambi each took a pass.) But even you conceded, graciously, that, derby crown or not, the night belonged to someone else.

Josh Hamilton’s unlikely journey to stardom was already the best story in baseball, maybe in all of sports. Then he went out and hit 13 home runs on 13 swings at Yankee Stadium—three of them more than 500 feet.

In the end, though, Hamilton ran out of gas. After hitting a record 28 home runs in the first round, he was topped 5-3 by Morneau in the last round. Said Morneau: “It does seem kind of unfair that he didn’t get to win the whole thing. Anyone who was here won’t forget that performance.

Two minutes for … Going from hero to diva in just one post-season.

Who’s got tickets? A shout out to our Euro-Canadian friends—tomorrow’s Tour de France, stage 11, from Lannemezan to Foix, 8 p.m. ET.

Fun police: Two years ago Ted Nolan triumphantly returned to the NHL after a decade in hockey purgatory, bringing an end to one of the game’s most unseemly subplots. Nolan’s style clicked in his first season with the Islanders, who clinched the last Eastern Conference playoff spot. But Nolan’s return to NHL coaching ended yesterday; he split over “philosophical differences” with GM Garth Snow.

Extra bases: Troubled Sens goalie Ray Emery blames bad attitude, not drugs, for his problems… Canadian hurdler Perdita Felicien, who hasn’t raced since fracturing a foot in February, bows out of Beijing… And those poor Bombers. Even the cheerleaders ain’t right!

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