July only means one thing (besides National Ice Cream month): the All-Star break for Major League Baseball.
Now I’ll admit that I haven’t watched as much baseball this season as much as I would like, but I was excited to be able to watch the Home Run Derby and All-Star game the beginning of this week since I didn’t have to work at night.
Here’s my little breakdown of each night and my thoughts and comments!
Home Run Derby:
First let’s talk about the new format.
It’s amazing. Snaps to MLB for realizing clocks aren’t all that bad, and it only took 2 1/2 hours instead of the normal 4 when it ends after midnight and waaay past my bedtime. Each player would have 5 minutes to hit as many home runs as he could, but because of the impending rain, the rounds were cut down to 4 minutes but still had a 30 second bonus round.
If only ESPN could have found a better announcer than Chris Berman. I think he gets paid for every “Back” he says, and someone needs to make a drinking game for next year.
My original pick to win it all was Kris Bryant, but after he lost in the first round to Albert Pujols, it didn’t really matter to me who won, but I found myself rooting for the hometown hero, Todd Frazier.
In the final round, it was Joc Pederson and Frazier, Pederson going first and finished with 14 home runs. Frazier had to get 15 in 4:30 minutes to win and give Cincy something to be proud of for a year. Or until the Bengals win a game.
Frazier went into the bonus round with 13 home runs, and with one swing into the 30 seconds, the ball landed in left field and he was the 2015 Home Run Derby champion.
I went to bed around 10:00pm, so I saw up to about the 5th inning or so. Of course I was rooting for the American League, in case the Red Sox have a miracle and come back to win the AL East in dramatic fashion (there’s a 3% chance that’ll happen).
The part I enjoyed the most was when they announced the greatest living players or the “Franchise Four.” Each team had their own FF as well as the league’s best, which were: Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays. I wasn’t even close to watching these players as I was growing up, I only had heard or read about them.
A little rundown on each player:
Hank Aaron: 755 career home runs, 3,771 hits, and 21 consecutive All-Star appearances.
Johnny Bench: considered one of the greatest catchers in history, 14-time All-Star with 389 home runs.
Sandy Koufax: had three 25 win seasons and posted an ERA of 1.88 or lower three times during three seasons with the Dodgers.
Willie Mays: 3,283 hits, 660 home runs, and the greatest combination of power, speed, and skill – a five tool player before it was a thing.
Once the game started, Mike Trout continued to show he’s amazing and also adding more things to his resume. He hit a lead-off home run in his first at-bat, the first time that’s happened since Bo Jackson in the 1989 Mid-Summer Classic. This was Trout’s fourth ASG, and in fitting fashion, the home run Tuesday night completed an ASG cycle for the 23 year old.
2015: Solo home run
There are only nine other guys with ASG cycles, and some of the names aren’t surprising: Willie Mays, Ted Williams, and Roberto Clemente just to name a few.
Trout, however, was the first to do it before age 24.
He received his second ASG MVP award, the first time a player has won them back-to-back. The AL went on to win 6-3, securing home field advantage.
I hope that one day, years and years from now, when I’m watching the ASG with my kids and MLB honors the Fantastic Four, I can say I saw Trout play as he walks out onto the field.
Tonight is the ESPY’s, hosted by Joel McHale, and I can’t wait to see what epic comebacks, great endings, and skilled players leave with awards.