Pete Alonso seemed like an afterthought after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson put on a show at the Home Run Derby. It was still the New York Mets phenom who came out on top.
The Home Run Derby has had some of the most fun times in recent baseball history. There was the night Josh Hamilton solidified his star status at Yankee Stadium. Mark McGwire put on a show sending balls over Fenway Park in 1999. The list goes on and on, but nothing compares to what we saw on Monday night.
The Home Run Derby has never seen one player hit 40 home runs in one round. That’s mostly because the Derby went under a new format recently which provide swing-offs. Still, it was one of the most impressive feats in recent baseball history.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson needed three extra frames to find a winner. Guerrero tied his own record that he broke in the first round with 29 home runs in the second round. He thought he had 30, but he hit the wall at the buzzer. Then, Pederson went nuts himself hitting an equal amount of 29. If Guerrero just hit that last ball a few feet higher to get it past the 19-foot wall, this might have been a relatively tame Home Run Derby.
Then, they were both given a minute to hit as many home runs as possible, and Guerrero came up with eight. In a minute! That seemed like a death blow for the Los Angeles Dodgers vet, but he showed he wouldn’t go down quietly to the young gun, hitting eight himself.
Pederson ended up going down in the second three-swing swing-off, completely missing his last pitch. One can’t blame him, he swung the bat well over 50 times. Exhaustion was setting in.
That seemed to steal the headlines from the rest of the show. But back to Alonso, who won this event despite having his cousin, who couldn’t find the strike zone despite the point of this was to allow home runs, throwing him pitches. That might be the most impressive feat. Alonso was hitting home runs to every single part of the field because that’s where his pitches ended up.
Guerrero didn’t slow down in the final, still hitting 22 home runs. That gave Guerrero 91 home runs on the night. That’s insanity. However, Alonso was hitting just enough in every single round, taking out Ronald Acuna and hometown hero Carlos Santana in the process.
This was about showcasing the greats that come next. Guerrero and Alonso are the future of baseball, but they could be the present as well. Throw in Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge, and the future of baseball has a ton of personality. Dare we say, baseball was fun on Monday night. Thank Alonso, Guerrero, Pederson and this glorious contest we get to see play out every year.