We are currently in the middle of the slowest time for sports in the calendar year. The NBA Finals/Draft/Free Agency Frenzy period has come to an end, the NFL is still a few weeks away and baseball is about to hit the dog days of August.
In the meantime our sports thirst doesn’t get quenched with tennis, boxing, or any other type of sports news. This is where baseball came in and had its impact on Monday night.
The best of the best gathered in Miami for the Major League All-Star festivities and the headliner was Monday night’s home run derby. With a few tweaks to the format and a good list of competitors this event was AMAZING.
The 2017 Home Run Derby featured everything. It had upsets, it had young starts and a surprising home town hero that put on a show.
Most everyone in Miami was there anticipating a final showdown between Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. They didn’t get that but in the end they didn’t need it to validate an incredible night of power hitting.
The four opening round matchups were all decided by one home run.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez recorded a big number that put all sorts of pressure on defending champion Giancarlo Stanton. Early on it seemed that Stanton was feeling more than the Miami heat and then he got hot, really hot. He closed the gap but fell one home run short. So the champ was out and Aaron Judge had yet to take a swing.
In the 2 vs 7 matchup Judge was expected to crush another home town favorite in Justin Bour. Bour had another idea. He was having the time of his life while whipping the crowd into a frenzy. He bombed 22 home runs which was the highest of the night to that point.
So Aaron Judge was now coming to the plate trailing by 22 when nobody else had hit more than 18, how was this going to go? Judge settled in and destroyed pitch after pitch into the stadium sky. Some landed in the right field seats, others in dead center and some may not have come down yet.
He hit 23 for the win and didn’t even need the extra time to do it. What a show, and that was still just the opening round.
Judge was even more impressive in the semi finals against Dodgers rookie slugger Cody Bellinger hitting majestic blast after majestic blast. He eventually made it to the finals and needed an easy eleven homers for the title. It was just a matter of when not if for Judge.
He blasted the title winning homer and flashed an ear to ear smile and was mobbed by players who were in complete awe of what they just witnessed. Baseball doesn’t always get everything right but in this case they nailed it. The format change worked, the balance of young stars and hometown hopefuls was perfect, and to be honest the eight contestants were on top of their game.
Thank you baseball for an evening of fun and entertainment. Now repeat that with the All-Star game on Tuesday if you can, no pressure.