Schmuck: All-Star Home Run Derby adds to Aaron Judge's growing legend
By By Peter Schmuck
The Baltimore Sun|
Jul 10, 2017 at 10:35 PM
Conspiracy theories have circulated for years about the supposedly "juiced" baseballs that travel so far in the All-Star Home Run Derby, but even in a regular season during which the balls have come into question those suspicions were rendered moot in the very first round Monday night.
New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge and and Miami Marlins slugger Justin Bour engaged in a homerfest that clearly had everyone in Marlins Park either on the edge of their seats or hiding under them.
Judge, a true New York giant at 6 feet 7 and 285 pounds, won the round, 24-22, with a performance that included a 501-foot shot. Bour, the local fan favorite who did not make the National League All-Star team, also hit two prodigious shots of 460 feet or more.
The winner of that matchup figured to win it all and Judge did, defeating Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger in the semifinal round and Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano in the finals.True confession: I was a big critic of the Home Run Derby before the time clock was introduced in 2015 and still am not a huge fan of the event, but the curiosity factor surrounding Judge made it a must-see event.
He certainly lived up to the hype that grew up around him on the way to a Yankees record 30 homers in the first half of the regular season.
In the second round against Bellinger, Judge hit a 513-foot homer that hit just below the roof in left-center field and also hit a 507-foot shot before passing Bellinger with nearly two minutes left (including bonus time).
The final round was almost anti-climactic. For obvious reasons, the home run totals generally decline as the competition goes on, and Sano clearly was losing altitude on the way to a 10-homer performance.
Judge hit four homers in his first five swings of the final round — driving one of them 480 feet — and brought the proceedings to an end with a 458-foot homer to center field. He still had 2 minutes, 25 seconds remaining (including bonus time) when he hit the decisive homer.