On this past Tuesday, the 88th MLB All-Star game was played. It was actually a fun game to watch as it was dominated by pitching and was won in extra innings. A few fun things happened during the game as well that made it more fun than games in the past. As fun as the game itself was, I would argue that the festivities from the night before were more fun and memorable. The Home Run Derby was on Monday and it ended up being awesome to watch. It was set-up from the beginning to be great and it delivered!
The 88th All-Star Game ended in 10 innings after Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in top of the 10th inning, that homer earned him the MVP award. Andrew Miller of the Indians entered the game in the bottom of the inning and that was it. He shut the NL team down and the game was over. During the game something happened that would not normally happen during a game. Nelson Cruz stepped up to the plate and asked the opposing catcher to take a picture of himself and the umpire, “Cowboy” Joe West. That seems to a fun moment that baseball is not really known for based on all of their unwritten rules.
As fun as the game was the derby was much better. In years past the derby has started to get stale. They have tweaked the format a few times and I think this time they got it right. They have 8 contestants that are put into a bracket, so they compete against each other, not just a total number of homers. They were also given 4 minutes to hit as many homers as possible, with one timeout given during the round. If they hit 2 balls over 450 feet, they were given a 30 second bonus. This format really seemed to help or maybe it was the contestants?
The Yankees had two players in Sanchez and Judge while the home stadium Marlins had two contestants in Stanton and Bour. The other 4 contestants were Bellinger, Sano, Moustakas, and Blackmon. Last year Stanton put on a show and it seemed destined that he would meet up with Judge. That did not happen as Sanchez beat Stanton to advance. Bellinger and Sano advanced as well. That left the match-up between Bour and Judge, Bour came out of the gates on fire and smashed the 4th highest total ever in a round at the derby with 22. That was not good news for Judge, pretty tough to overcome. Well, he did not disappoint! Judge came out and hit 23 homers to win his first round match-up. Judge ended up winning the whole contest by beating Bellinger in the finals. The manner in which Judge hit the homers was quite the sight! He was hitting massive bomb after massive bomb. Check out this article to get a pretty decent idea of what he was doing.
As mentioned before, the derby had grown stale. I think after this performance by not just Judge but the whole group it is back. I certainly will be watching again next year! The combination of the new format and the massive homers being hit has me hooked and waiting for next year. Apparently, I was not the only person watching either. I am happy for MLB but more happy for Judge. What a performance!