Monday’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park was a slugfest among the MLB elite, where fans from across the nation witnessed records being broken and a legend being made.
And I was there for the whole thing.
Experiencing the phenomenal performance of Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton made certain that us fans would not leave disappointed. Stanton’s 61 total home runs were the most in Home Run Derby history, which helped him cruise to the title. Before Monday, only two players had ever put up 20 homers a round. Stanton did it twice; 24 in the first round against Robinson Cano and then 20 in the finals to dethrone the defending champion, Todd Frazier. Stanton’s long ball brought special meaning with 15 of his home runs traveling 480 feet or longer.
However, as special as Stanton’s performance was, the whole event created this electric atmosphere. The crowd was a sea of brown and yellow, a tribute to the classic Padres uniforms. The hometown fans were everywhere and dominant in numbers but fans of all 30 MLB teams were represented in the stands and everyone was palling around as if we were kids at summer camp. Even in the row below me, a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan were giving high fives. If they can get along, the possibilities are endless.
Even between commercial breaks, we got to witness the high school Home Run Derby championship. Two 18-year-old kids slugging it out in a major league ballpark in front of thousands of fans while delivering a dramatic finish. Nick Brueser from Arizona defeated Brooklyn’s 6-foot-6 giant Nicholas Storz, 4-3 in the finals to capture the crown. The announcer made sure to remind the fans in attendance of their age so we could fully grasp the competition.
Baseball’s biggest spectacle had no shortage of entertainment. Seeing the players clown around with each other, watching the kids’ eyes light up, watching fans desperately try to get on the big screen with horrendous dance moves (including one Donald Trump look-alike spinning records on an invisible turntable) were all highlights. Even watching the kids in the outfield at the event, trying to beat out their competitors to a ball, knocking each other down like it was a battle royal was entertaining enough. It might not have been as entertaining for the White Sox third baseman Frazier, who had two home runs denied by a ruthless tall kid.
San Diego currently feels like the circus in this town. In a five minute span down in the hotel lobby, I’ve encountered baseball analyst Harold Reynolds and multiple MLB mascots in full uniform. We’re not even finished yet. The MLB All-Star Game and all of its festivities Tuesday are sure to impress … and get a little bit weird at the same time.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports, a hockey fanatic, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.