Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Fans, action bring back the excitement of the Home Run Derby

<p>Pete Alonso of the New York Mets points to the bench after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles in a Sept. 9, 2020 game at Citi Field in New York City. Alonso participated in MLB&#x27;s Home Run Derby on Monday.</p>

Pete Alonso of the New York Mets points to the bench after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles in a Sept. 9, 2020 game at Citi Field in New York City. Alonso participated in MLB's Home Run Derby on Monday.

After the cancellation of the 2020 All-Star week festivities due to COVID-19, 2021’s All-Star week came back with all the hype we’ve missed out on. 

Watching the Home Run Derby take place at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, was fantastic, as fans got a true glimpse of the infamous “Coors Field effect” with batters having a slug fest.

Here were some of the big takeaways from the Home Run Derby on Monday. 

The No. 1 and No. 2 seed performances 

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani and Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo were the top seeds for the competition. However, both ended up losing in the first round, elongating the streak of number one seeds losing in the first round of the Derby to four years. 

Gallo was disappointing in the competition, as many people expected him to win it all (sorry to all of the Gallo +400 bettors). Through the first half of the season, he has 24 home runs. However, he could only muster 19 against the Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who hit 20.

On the other hand, Ohtani, despite being the number one seed and having 33 home runs to his name, had a slow start. By the time he took his quick break, he only had five home runs compared to Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto’s 22. He finally found a rhythm and was able to hit 16 before the bonus round, then tied it in the bonus round with six home runs. 

It took not one, but two swing-offs for Soto to take Ohtani down. Both hit six home runs in the first swing-off, adding to a total of 28, before Soto went 3-for-3 in the swing off and Ohtani hit a grounder to end the competition. 

Pete Alonso goes back-to-back

M-V-PETE! M-V-PETE! M-V-PETE! Okay, I’ll stop now.

After winning the 2019 Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland, New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was back like he never missed a beat. 

He set a new record for home runs in the first round with 35 against Kansas City Royals catcher and No. 4 seed Salvador Perez. Alonso then beat a tired Soto, who had 15 home runs, by walking him off with 16. 

Alonso made it to the final round where he faced Baltimore Orioles first baseman and No. 6 seed, Trey Mancini. After tying Mancini’s score of 22 home runs in regulation time, Alonso went 6-for-6 in bonus time to take his title back.

Trey Mancini: an inspiration for everyone

Mancini is one of the most inspiring stories in all of MLB this season. After missing all of the 2020 season to treat stage three colon cancer, he wasn’t sure if he would ever see the field again. When he was declared cancer-free in November of 2020, he announced that he would come back to play for the 2021 season. 

After missing 565 days of being at the plate, Mancini made a seamless comeback and earned a No. 6 seed spot.

Mancini hit 24 home runs, just barely edging out Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson’s 23 in the first round. Mancini faced Story in the second round and stole a victory with 13 home runs compared to Story’s 12. However, his 22 home runs in the final round were not enough to take down the reigning champion. 

Overall, it was a great competition that needed to come back. To see great players hit it out of the park and have some fun is what the fans needed after a long pandemic that took away a regular 2020 sports season.

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