Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has hit some of the furthest home runs in Marlins Park history, but he admitted during Monday’s Home Run Derby he never hit a ball off the ballpark’s roof like Aaron Judge did.
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The Yankees slugger pulled off an incredible comeback after Stanton’s Miami teammate Justin Bour set the bar high with 22 first-round homers. Judge blasted 23 to advance, including a 501-foot shot that never even reached the stands.
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Stanton, the reigning Home Run Derby champion, said on ESPN’s broadcast while he takes batting practice before every home game at the park, he actually prefers to drive the ball instead of connecting on moon shots like Judge.
Not surprising, the most prolific sluggers of that era had the most success. Aaron won the most contests, six. Mantle hit the most home runs (35). But some forgotten stars from yesteryear fared surprisingly well in competition; Jackie Jensen of the Red Sox clubbed 29 home runs, fourth-most on the show.
All this is to say I’ll still watch Monday’s contest because, again, I think that maybe that this time will be different.
Maybe Stanton and Judge will take this thing to another level and spark a new appreciation. Maybe one of them will hit one into the ocean, or at least hit one hard enough to destroy the monstrosity of a sculpture in center field (I promise to love the Derby forever if that happens). Maybe something unexpected will happen and blow everyone away, me included.