Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson engaged in a Home Run Derby swing-off of your dreams
How can you not be romantic about sluggers mashing homers into the night?
The T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday at Progressive Field featured some of the game's best, battling head-to-head in feats of strength as they blasted baseballs all over the ballpark. And after Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s history-making first round that saw him hit 29 home runs, everybody basically assumed he'd cake-walk through the semifinals.
However, the Dodgers' Joc Pederson had other plans, and after Guerrero clubbed another 29 in their seminfinals showdown, Pederson kept chipping away ... and chipping away ... because his sweet-swingin' approach (and some great meatball pitches from Dino Ebel) quickly made this a tense battle.
With the dust settled and the baseballs having been shot into oblivion, we had ourselves a tie!
The two sluggers then engaged in a one-minute bonus round, which also tied. Then there was a "swing-off," of three swings each.
That was a tie, too, prompting a second three-swing "swing-off," after another blast from Pederson. It was insane.
Somewhere, Vlad Sr. was feeling it.
OMG ❗️❗️❗️— Vladimir Guerrero (@VladGuerrero27) July 9, 2019
Despite another strong effort in the second swing-off, a visually exhausted Pederson tried his best but came up short, lacing a line drive on his final swing instead of tying Guerrero once again.
Vlad Jr. had emerged triumphant, extending his quest (for the time being, at least) to win a Derby just like his dad did in 2007.
Two warriors entered, one persevered. You have to hand it to Pederson, who wasn't swayed by sitting there watching Guerrero hit eight million homers. Resolute and focused on the task at hand, he stepped up and made the Dodgers proud doing what he does best -- crushing dingers with ease.
Great show, guys. This is what the Derby is all about. Though neither slugger won the Derby (as the Mets' Pete Alonso took home the title), this battle will live on forever.
Adrian Garro joined MLB.com in 2016. Throughout his travels, both Bartolo Colon and Vin Scully have placed their hands on his shoulders. Not at the same time, though. That'd be amazing.