Last night’s MLB Home Run Derby was a celebration of one the greatest hitters of the 21st century and Albert Pujols, aka ‘The Machine’ gave fans a show.
A Valiant Effort
Nobody thought Albert Pujols was going to make it past the first round of the Home Run Derby. Heck, even Pujols himself thought he was done when he gave away his batting gloves after putting up 13 on his turn. Also, he was going up against the NL’s home run leader in Kyle Schwarber. Things looked bleak. Then suddenly, the two wound up in a ‘swing off,’ and the rest is history.
Almost Too Perfect
After Pujols dispatched Schwarber, that looked like the end of it, since he appeared to be heading into a buzz saw in Juan Soto. Then, Soto struggled in the first 45 seconds. At this point, I think this is when folks like myself started thinking, “could he actually win this thing?” Then Soto heated up, got the bonus time, and shattered any hopes of a storybook moment. But that is okay. We didn’t need that.
It Was Still Perfect
Albert Pujols was never going to win the Home Run Derby. The Derby is a young man’s competition. Power is rewarded with a 30 second bonus, which basically means you’re screwed if you don’t get it. Despite being at a colossal disadvantage, Pujols was able to stay competitive with one of the best swings the game has ever seen.
If he were to have actually won the whole thing, it would’ve been too good to be true. It would’ve felt fake. Last night, when Soto was slow out of the gate, a friend of mine actually texted me that he thought it was rigged. Albert Pujols didn’t win, but he was respectable, and he demonstrated what made him great. That’s all most fans wanted anyhow.