Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland A's needed a victory in a first round swing-off to make bracket play in the 2014 Home Run Derby, but he then proceeded to demolish each foe in front of him on his way to a second straight HR Derby title. Cespedes hit only three homers in the first round, but that was enough for a tie with teammate Josh Donaldson. After hitting homers in his first two swings of the ensuing tiebreaker, Cespedes hit nine bombs in the second round, seven in the AL finals, and nine in the overall finals to take the crown.
The two Rockies players participating - NL captain Troy Tulowitzki and returning hero Justin Morneau - failed to advance past the second round. Tulo advanced to the second round after hitting four homers in the first round - good for second place in the NL. He was defeated by Todd Frazier 6-2 in the second round. At least he got that far. Morneau was also eliminated by Frazier - after hitting just two homers in the first round, Morneau didn't smack any more dingers in a three chance swing-off compared to Frazier's one.
The eyes of one nation, under baseball, were on Minneapolis for the 2014 edition of the Home Run Derby, but those expecting a dinger fest were mostly disappointed in what was possibly the weakest edition of the HR Derby that I've ever viewed. The event was delayed about an hour by a rain shower and was marred by a general lack of home runs (not helped by lengthy delays given to players receiving byes), the ESPN announcers, and bad camera work. Seriously, many of the homers were not located by the cameras until after they had touched down and some were missed altogether in favor of showing a crowd shot.
Of the ten hitters in the first round, eight of them hit four or fewer homers - including a goose egg by Yasiel Puig. Only Jose Bautista put on a really good show, blasting ten homers and earning a bye into the AL finals, where he was easily beaten by Cespedes. Perhaps the most embarrassing element of the derby was the NL finals, where Frazier, who really should have been out of it after a first round of two homers before hitting six against Tulo, hit only one home run in his seven outs. Still, that was enough to boost Frazier through to the finals because Giancarlo Stanton (who had hit six in the first round to earn a bye) couldn't even get one out of the yard in the round.
Even so, Stanton did have my favorite blast of the contest, a mammoth shot that was projected by ESPN at a length of 510 feet:
NO ONE MAN SHOULD HAVE ALL THAT POWER.
Tulo and Charlie Blackmon will have a chance to secure victory for the NL (THIS TIME IT COUNTS) in the Midsummer Classic tomorrow night.