Introducing Home Run Derby X

March 30th, 2022

Every child knows that you really need only a few things to play baseball: A bat, a ball, and some fielders to chase after everything that's been hit.

Sure, to play Major League Baseball, you need nine fielders and nine hitters, a dugout full of subs, a few coaches leaning on the railing and thousands of kids spilling mustard on their clothes in the stands. But everything else? That's fungible, something we've known since playing in the backyard with ghost runners and special ground rules like "the rose bushes are an automatic out."

That's the spirit with which Major League Baseball has just announced its brand new global bracket-style competition, FTX MLB Home Run Derby X. Inspired by the success of MLB's Home Run Derby, four teams representing the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs will compete in this tournament set to be played in London, Seoul, and Mexico City later this year.

Here's how it breaks down:

The Field

First up, the field will be a little different from what you're used to. Home plate will be mounted on a stage and the pitcher's mound will be elevated on a podium. These are the focal points of the action and they are going to be treated as such. The field of play is also smaller, but just like in the Majors, each one will be slightly different based on where it's located to fit its environment -- whether it's a festival site or a stadium.

The locations haven't been announced for Seoul and Mexico City yet, but London's event will take place at Crystal Palace Park -- a space that hosts both concerts and features dinosaurs dotting the landscape. (Eat your heart out, Dinger.)

The Rules

Here, the gameplay gets a little more intense. Beyond swinging from a mounted batter's box, hitters will get to swing at 25 pitches and take up to 10 of them. That means they can see -- at most -- 35 pitches every at-bat. Obviously, they'll be swinging for the fences like in a traditional Derby, but if you ever played the MVP Baseball 2005 mini-games, you may be a little familiar with what's next: Batters can also earn points by hitting the targets. There will be two of them placed about 160 feet from home plate and another two set beyond the outfield fence for the power hitters to take aim at.

Finally, there's one more twist: The opposition will have players in the outfield. They'll earn points by catching any balls that fail to make it over the fence. Yes, this Home Run Derby has defense.

Teams will get one point for every home run, target hit, or catch, but players can also call for a "hot streak" that will allow teams to double their points on the following five pitches.

There will be a winning team at each event, but just like the regular season, it will culminate with a knock-out tournament to determine the Home Run Derby X Tour Champions at the final event.

So, just who is taking part?

The Teams

The competition will feature four of the biggest teams in baseball history: The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs. Each team will feature a former player (Legend), a softball or women's baseball star (Superstar), a player from that region's local development system (Rookie), and an influential content creator (Wild Card).

World Series champion and human sparkplug Jonny Gomes will be representing the Red Sox and is excited to take part in the new competition.

“Anytime I get to wear the Red Sox jersey and help grow the great game of baseball, count me in!” Gomes said. “Traveling and hitting home runs are two of my favorite things to do, so I can’t wait to be a part of MLB Home Run Derby X.”

While each player will have a unique role within their team, the Wild Card just may have the most intriguing job of all. They'll be the average fan's eyes and ears into the event, showing us what it's like to train and prepare to blast dingers with the rest of the baseball talent.

Here are the teams as they currently stack up, with the Rookies being announced soon:

Boston Red Sox

Jonny Gomes, MLB Legend

Paige Halstead, Superstar

Liv Cooke, Wild Card

Chicago Cubs

Geo Soto, MLB Legend

Alex Hugo, Superstar

Spencer Owen, Wild Card

Los Angeles Dodgers

Adrián González, MLB Legend

Ashton Lansdell, Superstar

Yoongy Kwak, Wild Card

New York Yankees

Nick Swisher, MLB Legend

Erika Piancastelli, Superstar

Stefania Aradillas, Superstar (Mexico only)

Daniel Corral, Wild Card

For his part, Soto can't wait for his kids to see him start blasting some dingers again.

“The Chicago Cubs signed me at 18 years old, so to get another opportunity to put that jersey back on and be a part of Home Run Derby X is an honor and a privilege,” Soto said. “I can’t wait for my kids to see me swing the bat and hit Home Runs. There’s nothing like being a part of the crowd and seeing baseball in action!”

Sign up and then follow along as more information is released, including how to get tickets to this year's events.