Old Friend Corey Seager Will Partake In Home Run Derby, The First Ever At Dodger Stadium

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corey seager

It will be Dodger Stadium’s second All-Star Game of all time, but its first official Home Run Derby.

The Derby, which started back in 1985, has become the delicious and – maybe even better – appetizer to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Who can forget the Josh Hamilton show at Yankee Stadium in 2008? Or the 520-foot homer by Juan Soto last year.

That ball is in orbit.

Monday night, around 5 p.m. local time, balls will be hammered, clocked, belted and blasted over the Dodger Stadium fences for several hours. It will be live on ESPN.

Here’s who’s hitting and all the HR Derby details to know.

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The Format

Eight ballplayers are seeded based on their current home run totals – nice touch. You don’t have to be an All-Star to compete in the Home Run Derby.

The format has changed some over the years. When they did it old-school style with batters getting to swing until they made 10 outs, it went too long for TV.

TV still rules the world, you know.

So now, the players go head-to-head and try to hit as many home runs as possible in three minutes in the first round and semifinals. The finals are two minutes. If there is a tie, they have a “swing-off” not to be confused with that swingers afterparty in Bethesda.

Who’s Homering?

Here’s the bracket.

(1) Kyle Schwarber, Phillies vs. (8) Albert Pujols, Cardinals

Storyline/Homerline: Pujols will be the sentimental favorite. He was picked to play in the All-Star Game as a “Legends” player. Pujols is only batting .214 with six homers, but he does have 685 all-time, which is fifth most in baseball history.

Schwarber leads the NL in homers with 28 and was second in the Derby in 2018.

(4) Juan Soto, Nationals vs. (5) Jose Ramirez, Guardians

Homerline: Soto just looks like a guy who should win this, right? He’s the only good thing about the Nationals these days. He has 19 homers this season and already has 117 in his career.

Ramirez slammed 36 homers last year and leads the AL with 69 RBI.

(2) Pete Alonso, Mets vs. (7) Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves

Homerline: These two met in the 2019 semifinals, with the Polar Bear (that’s Pete) winning en route to his first HR Derby title. Alonso is the two-time defending champion. He won in 2019 and 2021. The Derby in 2020 was canceled because of obvious reasons.

Only one man, Ken Griffey Jr., has ever won three HR Derby titles. Acuna Jr. looks like filler here. He has only eight homers this season but did hit 41 back in 2019.

(3) Corey Seager, Rangers vs. (6) Julio Rodriguez, Mariners

Homerline: Rodriguez is the only rookie in the field, but rookies have won this competition twice before (Alonso and Aaron Judge of the Yankees). He has 15 homers and should bring some enthusiasm to the contest. Seager will probably be the man the crowd is most into. The long-time Dodger has 21 homers this year already. He had 26 with the Dodgers back in 2016.

What’s the Ballpark Like?

Dodger Stadium used to be known as a pitcher’s park, but those days have come and gone. Dodger Stadium has given up 1.148 homers a game this season, sixth most in Major League Baseball. Coors Field in Colorado is first, naturally.

The stadium has classic dimensions, 330 feet down the lines, 385 to both power alleys, and 390 to dead center. Dodger Stadium doesn’t give up cheap home runs, but Monday night it will give up plenty.

Derby Notes

The first winner of the Home Run Derby was Pirates star Dave Parker back in the Metrodome in Minneapolis in 1985. It was such an afterthought that in the early years, the contest wasn’t even broadcast live.

It’s been held 36 times. It was canceled by rain in 1998 and by 2020. In 1986 and 1989, there were winners from each league crowned. The NL has had 16 winners, the AL 21.

Who has the most winners? The Yankees, of course, with four.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 40 (forty!) in the second round of 2019 but didn’t win the contest.

Funny thing is, neither did Josh Hamilton. The former Rangers superstar had old Yankee Stadium rocking with his 28-homer performance, then lost his groove in the finals and Justin Morneau of the Twins won. What a letdown.

Who’s Winning This Year?

It would be nice for Pujols to put on a show and crank a few, but I don’t think he has the stamina to go the distance. I like Juan Soto to beat Pete Alonso in the finals.