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Big League Challenge Begins Airing on ESPN2
Spawn.com Sponsors Home-run Hitting Event

The first-ever Big League Challenge home-run hitting contest, sponsored by ESPN and Spawn.com, began airing on ESPN2 March 20. The one-on-one contests between 12 of Major League Baseball's most prodigious long-ball hitters will air daily with the hour-long finale taking place March 31st at 6 p.m. EST.
    The Challenge, put together by the Major League Baseball Players Association, is a re-creation of the classic Home Run Derbies of the early '60s, but with a new millennial twist: high-profile TV coverage, sponsorships and about 25,000 screaming fans.
    Oh, and the hitters themselves.
    Participants in this year's challenge - Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez, Shawn Green, Mike Piazza, Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones - were arguably the greatest platoon of power hitters ever assembled in one stadium.
    "It's exciting. It's thrilling," said Canseco. "It's an honor being out there with these great power hitters. It's definitely exciting for baseball."
    As official sponsors, Todd McFarlane and the Spawn.com road warriors were in Las Vegas for the event giving away McFarlane Toys, signing autographs and socializing with the hitters.
    The highlight of the event, at least for Todd, was when he and his brother, Derek, got to take batting practice with the big boys.
    "I'll tell you, that was like a dream come true for me," said Todd after the event.
    Did he clear the wall?
    "Well, no," he said with a laugh, "but I made the warning track a couple times, so that wasn't too bad."
    He did, however, hit a home run with the upcoming action figures.
    McFarlane Toys will release of series of Big League Challenge action figures based on the hitters taking part in the event. The first wave of figures will include Mark McGwire, Chipper Jones, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco and Manny Ramirez.
    And these aren't your Dad's sports action figures. The sculptors at McFarlane Toys took great pains (and lots of source material) to sculpt the most-detailed, realistic sports action figures ever created.
    Look for these McFarlane Sports Picks in stores in November.

TODD AND DEREK AFTER BATTING PRACTICE SHAWN GREEN TAKING A BIG LEAGUE CUT MARK McGWIRE AT THE PLATE TODD WITH NOMAR GARCIAPARRA TODD TAKING BATTING PRACTICE

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