A Home Run Derby to Remember

Remember this phrase: The more things change, the more they stay the same. The 2021 Home Run Derby in Denver, Colorado was the comeback for the event after not being held last year because of COVID-19, and what a comeback it was! It not only featured the defending champion, Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, but also Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, the first Japanese player and first pitcher to ever enter the Derby and Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles, who spent all of last year in and out of hospitals getting chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer.

To say that the event was filled with firsts is an understatement. However, it was also filled with surprises. For one, Shohei Ohtani, the league leader in homeruns with 33 and the odds-on favorite to win the event, was bounced in the first round after a thrilling matchup with the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto that went to a tiebreaker and then a swing-off after the tiebreaker didn’t settle things.

As for Trey Mancini, whose bravery and strength continues to astound me, he went to the finals despite being the 6-seed in the Derby. Personally, I think that any performance he would have given tonight would’ve been applauded, but the fact that he made his presence felt and made it to the finals is astonishing.

But remember what I said about things staying the same? Well, they did, because Pete Alonso successfully defended his title. He absolutely had the performance of the night, complete with a 35-homer first round, drumming up the crowd before he won his semifinal, and then winning the title before his bonus time was even close to running out.

Needless to say, this year’s Home Run Derby was definitely a trailblazing event that ended up having the same result as the event two years ago. I can only hope that the Derby next year can top it!

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