On Monday night, the MLB had their home run derby as part of the All-Star festivities. The American League captain, as selected by the MLB, was Toronto Blue Jays slugger and right fielder Jose Bautista, who led the American League in home runs in 2010 and 2011. Bautista selected reigning champion Yoenis Cespedes, hometown Minnesota Twin Brian Dozier, as well as Oakland A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson to join him facing the National League’s contingent.
Bautista batted second for his squad, third overall, and he knocked 10 dingers out in the first round. This year, the derby only allowed competitors seven outs which to hit for, when previously it’s always been ten. This was an impressive feat (and I wore my Blue Jays cap proud for about the first time this month). He led the competition by a mile while somehow players with just two home runs advanced. Cespedes got by on a swing-off against his teammate Donaldson after hitting just three dingers in the first round.
Meanwhile, Bautista sat (well, perhaps not literally… but didn’t get to hit) for an estimated hour and 45 minutes. While he sat, the other chumps in the contest put up totals of 2, 4, 3, 3, 2, 4 and 0 while one competitor, Giancarlo Stanton, got 6– by far the closest, but still four off.
Bautista even went and sat down with still one out remaining in his round, a display of confidence and swagger that he was getting through. Alas, his post was hardly challenged.
Bautista received a bye for his efforts, but that would actually work against him as this meant more time not up at the plate. At the same time, Cespedes was heating up, hitting nine out of the park in the second round for the second highest total.
In the third round, Cespedes somehow got to bat before Bautista, who waited an hour and forty-five minutes. Cespedes, still hot, batted seven out. Bautista fell flat, hitting just four in the AL Final.
In the old home run derby format (not with steroids – that’s not what I meant), Bautista and Cespedes would’ve advanced to the finals while Stanton’s goose-egg and Frazier’s measly one would’ve been eliminated.
While Cespedes won, Jays’ fans should be proud of Bautista’s ten home runs in the first round, the most for any competitor in any round (as a journalist, Bautista’s total of 10 is the only score I’m not obligated to write out because it’s two digits). If you really want, you can blame the format… but who really cares? Except for people who bet on it, I suppose.
While no one may really care about the home run derby or All-Star Game, Bautista made Toronto proud in any case.
Cespedes wins his second consecutive home run derby crown, the only back-to-back winner other than Ken Griffey Jr. in 1999. Fans seem to worry about their hitters in the remaining season after competing in the derby, but Jose Bautista is a veteran of this competition. So Jays’ fans may be less freaked out than most– at least their second half of the once promising season, hopes so.