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A Derby Story to appreciate and learn from

Story’s comments from the Derby offer insight into future

The 2021 Home Run Derby was a fun show, but it also could end up foreshadowing Trevor Story’s future.

Last week, Story broke the Rockies single-round record for most homers in the Home Run Derby. His 20 blasts in round one were not only enough to edge Joey Gallo, but they also bested Larry Walker’s 1997 mark of 19.

Considering the impressive Rockies to be in the Derby — from Walker to original Blake Street Bombers Dante Bichette, Ellis Burks, and Vinny Castilla, to other team legends like Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, Carlos González, Troy Tulowitzki, and current teammate Charlie Blackmon — Story is now the tops. Not only that, but he got to put on the show at Coors Field in front of the home crowd.

“It was awesome,” Story said of the experience, especially with the fans chanting his name. “I loved every second of that. We have great fans here. And they always show up for us. And that meant a lot to me that they really rallied behind me.”

Rockies Home Run Derby History

Year Player Total HRs Finish
Year Player Total HRs Finish
1994 Dante Bichette 3 Round 1
1996 Ellis Burks 1 Round 1
1997 Larry Walker 19 Runner-up
1998 Vinny Castilla 12 Round 2
1999 Larry Walker 2 Round 1
2001 Todd Helton 2 Round 1
2007 Matt Holliday 13 Round 2
2012 Carlos González 4 Round 1
2013 Michael Cuddyer 15 Round 2
2014 Justin Morneau 2 Round 1
2014 Troy Tulowitzki 6 Round 2
2016 Carlos González 12 Round 1
2017 Charlie Blackmon 14 Round 1
2021 Trevor Story 20 Round 1

For one shining moment, Story’s 518-foot homer in round one also stood as the longest ever in Derby history. Juan Soto later broke it with a 520-foot shot, but second-best isn’t a bad spot to hold.

Heading into the trade deadline, Story’s days in Colorado seem to be numbered. Even if he remains in purple for the rest of 2021, his approaching free agency, his market value, and the Rockies current status as non-contenders all make it fairly unlikely that Story will be a Rockie in 2022. It could happen, but it’s not likely.

Despite recent comments from interim GM Bill Schmidt hinting at an uneventful few weeks for Rockies transactions, multiple reports (for details check out MLB Trade Rumors, the Denver Post, Forbes, and several national sports reporters) indicate the Rockies and Story aren’t discussing a deal and Story appears to be headed out.

That’s why it’s important to take a moment to revel in Story’s Derby appearance and to appreciate every start and play he makes in purple from here on out.

Obviously, one of the greatest parts of the Derby was when Story’s water boy and hype man, Nolan Arenado, was able to not only share in the festivities, but also become an integral part with his friend and former teammate.

“It was cool. I asked him to come out there for me, and he was all about it,” Story said of Arenado.

Story said it was also special to be supported by the lone Rockies All-Star Germán Márquez.

“[Nolan] and Marquez too you know, they came out there and we’re pumping me up and Nolan was firing up the crowd there for a second,” Story said. “So that was awesome, man. It was cool to have them be a part of that experience, too.”

Nolan knew that it was a special night for Story and the fans. He knows more than anyone that the changing nature of baseball means every moment has to be savored.

“It’s awesome. I mean, I was there. I told him, ‘I’ll be the water boy, whatever you need, man. I’ll be there for you,’” Arenado said. “And I told him, I was like, ‘I’ll be your hype man also.’ And I think the fans liked it and he deserves that. He deserves the recognition for how good he is and how special of a player he is and what he’s done here.”

Another element that added uniqueness to the night is Trevor’s thoughtfulness and attention to Rockies history. Before the Derby, he had Rockies clubhouse manager Mike “Tiny” Pontarelli fashion him a special Vinny Castilla jersey to wear for warmups before Story put on the No. 44 uniforms to honor Hank Aaron.

“I was just looking for a cool way to kind of commemorate that — Vinny competing in the ‘98 Derby which was also here. So yeah, I thought it was a cool way to have a little shout-out for him,” Story said. “It was something that was important to me to you know, kind of pay respect to the guys that came before you. Vinny is an all-time Rockie and all-time guy, just somebody that has helped me a lot. He is somebody that I truly appreciate his friendship.”

The All-Star week will go down as a historic one for the Rockies, an organization that was able to pull off an All-Star Game and all its accompanying events with three month’s notice. It was also a return of normalcy of sorts after a COVID-dominated 2020 where fans and players could be together again. But it also might go down as one of Story’s final highlights in Colorado.

While losing him will be hard, the writing is certainly on the wall that the loss is coming. When it came to Nolan’s departure, it happened because the Rockies weren’t dedicated to winning. Just by looking at the Derby, you can tell that Story is very similar to his friend Nolan: he plays to win. When he talked about joining the Derby, you don’t have to read between the lines to see his competitiveness.

“For me, you know, if I’m going to enter something, I want to try to win, you know,” Story said. “I’m not gonna do it just to participate.”

Aiming for winning instead of just participating seems to be in sharp contrast to the Rockies current modus operandi.

With an unknown future ahead, Rockies fans should appreciate Story, just like he treasured the Derby.

“It was something that I’ll cherish and this will be a memory for a long time,” he said.