Monday night’s home run derby was more or less doomed from the start, at least as compelling television. Many folks have tired of this event to begin with, particularly as loudly called by ESPN’s Chris Berman. But, you know, it was the pretty much the only sports event on, so whaddya gonna do?
The Home Run Derby is jury duty for the degenerate sports fan. We are all called, but few are happy about it. — Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) July 15, 2014
Well, first what you did was wait. The start of the competition was delayed by rain, which meant that folks would have to stay up even later if they wanted to see it end. Great! Todd Frazier hit only two homers in the first round, but one of them caused a rainbow to appear, so that was neat. It also foreshadowed an unexpectedly (and, to some degree, undeservedly) deep run in the contest for Frazier.
A little later in the first round, Yasiel Puig stepped to the plate. Oh, this should be good! Nope. Not good. Puig hit zero — zippy, nada — homers, and his night, at least at the ballpark, was done.
Puig’s main contribution tonight was helping this event move along much more quickly. — Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 15, 2014
Fortunately, the other slugger about whom folks were excited, the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, delivered the goods. He hit six home runs in the first round, including this moonshot:
Giancarlo Stanton the new NL leader with 6 HR. One HR had a projected distance (if it had continued its descent) of 510 feet — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 15, 2014
Stanton’s prodigious feat certainly had fellow all-star Andrew McCutchen excited.
Thanks to the derby’s new format, Stanton was given a bye for the next round, because why would we want to see him again? Then, when Stanton finally reappeared for the semifinals, he had cooled off to the point that he hit no home runs at all, and that was it for him. Prediction: we’ll have another new format next year. This was kind of nutty. A dad in the second deck, by the left field foul pole, caught a home run hit by Brian Dozier. Later in the first round, the same guy caught a homer off the bat of Adam Jones. What were the odds?
This guy brought a giant glove to the proceedings. I don’t think that would even be all that useful in catching a ball.
After that, it was pretty much the Yoenis Cespedes Show. The A’s slugger hit just three home runs in the first round, and needed to win a tiebreaker over teammate Josh Donaldson just to advance, but he socked 25 homers thereafter. And after dispatching Frazier, 9-1, in the final round, Cespedes became the first player since Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) to win the event in consecutive years. Congrats!