DENVER – Stadium high in the Rocky Mountains where the ball flies. Balls not treated with a humidifier, different from the custom at Coors Field since 2002. Toleteros of the stature of Pete Alonso, Trevoy Story, Juan José Soto and, of course, Shohei Ohtani from Japan.
All the conditions were in place for a historic Home Run Festival on Monday night in Colorado. And those forecasts were fulfilled.
Alonso, Mets slugger, took his second Home Run Derby title back-to-back by beating Orioles Trey Mancini 23-22 in the final round. The “Polar Bear” hit a total of 74 home runs in the event, to become just the third player to win the competition twice in a row (Yoenis Céspedes, 2013-14; and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., 1998-99). Alonso conquered the 2019 Festival at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
It was a dramatic finish Monday for Alonso, who homered with each of his last six swings in the final round to beat Mancini.
The story that Alonso made did not stop there. Now, the Mets first baseman has joined Cespedes, Griffey and Prince Fielder in winning the Home Run Derby on more than one occasion. And with 131 hits in his two appearances in the contest, he is the author of the most lifetime in the competition.
KILOMETRIC BEATS IN COLORADO
As expected, there were hits from an unprecedented distance in the thin air of Coors Field. There were 13 homers over 500 feet, four from Soto. One of the Nationals outfielder was 520 feet, the longest in the history of the Home Run Festival.
In the first round, Soto and Ohtani engaged in an exciting competition that went into “double overtime” before the Dominican homered with all three of his swings in the final tiebreaker to eliminate the multi-faceted Japanese player.
LATIN AMERICANS GAVE WHAT TO TALK ABOUT
Although neither of them won the contest, Soto and the other Latin American in action, the Venezuelan Salvador Pérez, had performances worthy of the event.
Pérez hit 28 home runs in the first round, being outscored by Alonso and his 35 hits. Perez’s longest home run was 491 feet and his fastest exit speed was 112 miles per hour.
For his part, Soto put on his show in the first round beating Ohtani and set the mark for the longest home run in the event, since Statcast began measuring the distance of hits in 2016.