Home Run Derby
Prior to the beginning of the Derby, all eyes were on the major league’s home run leader Shohei Ohtani (Angels). Everyone wanted to know if he would put a show on and win the Derby. Unfortunately, he did not get out of the first round. He faced off against Juan Soto, of the Washington Nationals, and it went right down to the wire. Ohtani started his first three minutes very slowly, not hitting a homerun until roughly 1:30 left. He received a call from his teammate, Mike Trout, and it seemed to do the trick. He matched Soto’s home run total of 22 with half of his time remaining. They participated in a first round swing-off where both hitter’s had one minute to hit the most homeruns. Both Ohtani and Soto tied again with 28 total home runs. The last swing off tie break was a three ball swing off. Soto went first and crushed all three of his swings over the fence. Ohtani hit his first ball for a line drive and the night was over for him.
At the end of the Derby, Pete Alonso (Mets) was the story of the night. He looked to be in the zone throughout all three rounds. He broke the record for the most home runs in a round at the Derby with 35. He surpassed Josh Hamilton’s 28 home runs record with one less minute of time. Alonso cruised through his second round matchup against Soto without needing to use the 1 minute time bonus and then faced Trey Mancini (Orioles) in the final round. Mancini was the feel good story of the night. He was diagnosed with Stage Three colon cancer in March 2020. He was forced to miss the season while he was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. He had his first at bat in 565 days on Opening Day with the Orioles and then had his sights set for the Home Run Derby. In the final round, Mancini put up 22 home runs in two minutes. Alonso went second and put up 23 home runs to win his second Home Run Derby in a row.
Fun fact: Alonso has made roughly the same amount of money in his two Derby victories ($2 million) then he has in his career earnings ($2.3 million).
MLB All-Star Game
Meanwhile, the All-Star game did not have all the theatrics the Derby had. The American League took an early lead on the National League and never looked back. The Blue Jays played a big part in the American Leagues victory. Marcus Semien started the night with an infield hit that scored Judge to take a 1-0 lead. An inning later, Vladimir Guerraro Jr. hit a solo home run to left to extend the lead. He is one of only three father-son combos to homer in an All-Star Game… the other two are the Griffeys and the Bonds. This was also the 200th home run in the 88 year history of the All-Star game. In the fifth inning, Guerrero Jr. was up again and grounded out to score Teoscar Hernández. The AL continued their onslaught when Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) singled to score Cedric Mullins (Orioles). The score was now 4-0 after five innings. The NL clawed back slightly in the fifth when J.T. Realmuto (Phillies) hit a solo home run to make it 4-1. In the sixth inning, both the AL and NL traded blows with a home run by Mike Zunino (Ray’s) and a passed ball by Zunino scored Manny Machodo (Padres). The final score was 5-2 American League. Shohei Ohtani was credited for the win and Liam Hendriks with the save. Vlad Guerraro Jr. was awarded the game’s MVP. He is the only Blue Jay and the youngest player in history to win the All-Star Game MVP.