Story relishes HR Derby experience at Coors

Rockies SS hits epic 518-foot blast

July 13th, 2021

DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Trevor Story’s tired grin said it all.

As he swung through two rounds of Monday night’s Home Run Derby -- beating the Rangers’ Joey Gallo, 20-19, in the first round before falling to the Orioles’ Trey Mancini, 13-12, in the second -- his gratitude outstripped any fatigue. He appreciated each moment, and every cheer from the loving, sellout crowd of 49,098 at his home park, Coors Field.

“No doubt, it’s a special event, and to have it here in my sixth year here was amazing,” Story said. “I was certainly looking for times to relish in that, just the appreciation of it. I’m glad I got to compete in this and have some special guys do it with me.”

Story gave the crowd moments to savor. His shot of 518 feet in the first round was, at the time, the longest measured by Statcast in Derby history -- although the Nationals’ Juan Soto would snap that record later. Balls not being stored in the Coors Field humidor, which was installed in 2002 because too many games became Home Run Derby-like, helped the distances and the tallies.

Story -- who had Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond throwing and bullpen catcher Aaron Muñoz behind the plate because, “we wanted it all Rockies guys,” went before Gallo, who couldn’t catch him. In the next round, Mancini overtook him with 23 seconds to spare.

“I felt like I got through the first round pretty nicely. There, toward the end, obviously, I called my timeout and then came back pretty good,” he said. “But, yeah, you’re pretty tired, there’s no doubt. There’s no getting around that -- thin air and everything that goes into it -- you’re pretty tired.”

Even more special than the swings that sent balls skyward were the other moments. Story is not playing in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, so he wrapped himself in all the joy and emotion of the Derby.

2021 will be the second All-Star Game held at Coors, and it was the second Derby as well. To set the mood, Story commissioned Mike Pontarelli -- the reigning MLB Clubhouse Attendant of the Year -- to make him a replica of the purple-and-green All-Star batting practice top that Vinny Castilla wore in the ’98 Derby, won by Ken Griffey Jr. Castilla, who finished his career with his third stint with the Rockies, serves the club as a special assistant to the general manager, and on Sunday managed the National League team in the Futures Game.

If the attire put Story in the spirit, the crowd and a couple special helpers on the field gave him energy.

Rockies right-handed pitcher Germán Márquez -- the only Rockies player who will suit up for Tuesday night’s Midsummer Classic -- assisted Story with towels and drinks. Also, former Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado -- wearing his Cardinals red cap but still occupying hearts of Rockies fans -- served not just as co-cornerman, but as hype man by waving a towel to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

“It was cool,” Story said. “I asked [Arenado] to come out there for me, and he was all about it. He and Márquez, too, they came out there and were pumping me up. Nolan was firing up the crowd there for a second. It was awesome, man.”

As Marlins manager in 2014, Redmond threw to then-Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton at the Home Run Derby in Minneapolis, where Redmond spent much of his playing career. This time, the crowd was for the hitter.

“I was pumped,” Redmond said. “I was excited. The crowd was amazing. To see ‘Trev’ out there doing his thing and the crowd behind him, it was fun.”

Story didn’t feel it was all about him, either. Wearing No. 44 to honor the late Hank Aaron made Story say, “I feel like I’m not worthy.”

And while he is competitive, he could appreciate the man who beat him -- Mancini, a survivor of Stage 3 colon cancer.

“His resiliency, his story's amazing,” Story said. “And I got to talk to him a little bit about that, and tell him that.”

Story's 33 homers are a record for a Rockies player in the Home Run Derby. Hall of Fame electee Larry Walker hit 19 in 1997 at Cleveland, Michael Cuddyer knocked 15 at New York's Citi Field in 2013, and current teammate Charlie Blackmon tallied 14 at Miami in 2017.

So Story left with a fun fact for Blackmon, still his Rockies teammate.

“I can't wait to tell Chuck,” Story said upon learning where his total stood. "I'll text him.”