The winner of the upcoming T-Mobile Home Run Derby won't be the only person receiving a trophy for belting baseballs over the fence Monday in Washington, D.C. Prior to the festivities at Nationals Park, MLB will crown its first Home Run Derby Virtual Reality (VR) champion. Fans of all ages
The winner of the upcoming T-Mobile Home Run Derby won't be the only person receiving a trophy for belting baseballs over the fence Monday in Washington, D.C. Prior to the festivities at Nationals Park, MLB will crown its first Home Run Derby Virtual Reality (VR) champion. Fans of all ages who attend the GEICO All-Star FanFest or PLAY BALL Park from Friday through Sunday will have a chance to qualify for Monday's MLB Home Run Derby VR Championship competition by playing the Home Run Derby VR video-game experience at either venue.
MLB launched the Home Run Derby VR game in April for play on HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR, as well as mobile devices. It was the first console VR video game built by a U.S. professional sports league. The game features the All-Star ballparks for the years 2017-19 (Marlins Park, Nationals Park and Progressive Field). Fans at 12 MLB ballparks across the country -- Chase Field, SunTrust Park, Guaranteed Rate Field, Minute Maid Park, Marlins Park, Target Field, the Oakland Coliseum, Busch Stadium, Petco Park, AT&T Park, Tropicana Field and Nationals Park -- are also able to demo the game.
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A special All-Star version of the VR game will be used for all qualifying and championship competitions, featuring Nationals Park as the setting. Participating fans will have 90 seconds to hit as many home runs as possible using a proprietary VR bat controller. The VR game was developed by the MLB Games and VR team and will be powered by HTC's Vive Pro, giving participants a premium VR experience.
The top 32 qualifiers will compete in a bracket-style competition for the championship on Monday beginning at 2 p.m. ET at All-Star FanFest, and the winner will receive a custom Tiffany & Co. Official Derby trophy as well as a grand-prize package that includes four tickets to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, an official 2018 commemorative Louisville Slugger bat featuring a custom Lizard Skins grip, a custom 2018 All-Star Game jersey, an official 2018 MLB All-Star Game on-field cap for any MLB team and a one-year subscription to MLB.TV.
The entire championship event will be streamed live on multiple platforms, including Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Mixer, and will feature commentary from MLB Network's Alexa Datt, gamers RealShelfy (@RealShelfy) and Fuzzy and nine-time MLB All-Star Fred Lynn. Datt, RealShelfy, Fuzzy and Lynn will also present the winner's trophy and grand-prize package.
For complete details on the Home Run Derby VR Championship, please visit mlb.com/hrdvr-championship.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.