Giancarlo Stanton was the biggest fish in San Diego Monday night, smashing a record 61 home runs in the three-round Home Run Derby.
In the new Derby format, players have four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible and are paired against each other in a bracket-style format. Gone are the days of players being selective with the pitches they swing at, allowing for more excitement and greater displays. Even in their wildest dreams, they couldn’t have dreamt of a more entertaining display than what Stanton put together.
Stanton, a West Coast native, did not want to take the trip out to California for no reason. Although he wasn’t selected to the All-Star team, Stanton flew West wanting to make the most of the opportunity.
“For sure, being on the West Coast and taking the flight out here just for this, you know. I figure it’s a waste if I don’t bring this bad boy home,” Stanton said, hoisting the trophy.
In his first round matchup against Robinson Cano, Stanton blasted 24 homers, outpacing Cano by a wide margin. The semifinal saw Stanton take on Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles, who had defeated rookie Corey Seager 16-15 in the opening round. Stanton’s second round total was 17, his lowest round of the night. In the final, Stanton faced the defending champion, Todd Frazier. Stanton easily defeated Frazier by hitting 20 more homers, setting the single-night record with 61, shattering Bobby Abreu’s former mark of 41.
A scary thought for future competitors: Stanton claimed he wasn’t using his ultimate swing in the competition.
“When I get a few in a row, I would kind of bump it up 5 to 10 percent,” he said. “But most the time I stuck at 80-90 percent. I knew I could do it, endurance-wise. I was just hoping my swing didn’t fall about.”
With next year’s All-Star Game in Miami, Stanton said it is likely he returns to defend his crown. After the master class Stanton put on in San Diego, we should all hope he sticks to his word.