First and foremost… HR Derby > NBA Dunk Contest. No shade to the dunk contest, but the Home Run Derby is much more of a spectacle and showcase of talents than the dunk contest. A showcase of talent is a great way to describe this year’s Home Run Derby.
The biggest story of the night was the continuation of Trey Mancini’s feel good story, who returned this season after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2020. He has been an inspiration and the model of perseverance all throughout 2021. Not only was it a feel good story, he came out and mashed his way all the way to the finals against Pete Alonso.
How about that show that reigning champ and 2021 champ Pete Alonso put on… 35 home runs as he was jumping and grooving with the music. Alonso overshadowed a sneaky good performance from Salvador Perez, who finished with 28 home runs and had absolutely no chance of dethroning Pete Alonso.
The odds on favorite to win the HR Derby, Shohei Ohtani, had a very tight 1st round matchup with young All-Star Juan Soto. Soto was able to complete the upset all the way to a three-swing swing-off. Soto’s awesome 1st round matchup was highlighted with an event-long 520-foot home run! Soto hit a home run on all three swings in the swing-off to beat Ohtani 31-28.
The other two 1st round matchups: Trevor Story vs. Joey Gallo and Matt Olson vs. Trey Mancini came down to only one more home run, where the second hitter was unable to hit just one more and take the match into overtime.
When it came down to it, absolutely no one was going to beat Pete Alonso tonight. In neither of his two matchups that he went second did he need all of the time to beat his opponent. It was dominance at its best, and the championship belt stays with Alonso as he joins the short list of back-to-back champions (Yoenis Cespedes and Ken Griffey Jr.).