The 2015 MLB All-Star events are underway and other than the Filet Mignon, the main course that is the All-Star game, some of the league’s best sluggers will showcase their skills tomorrow night as a worthy appetizer.
The Gillette Home-Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders will take place at 8 p.m. EST, with the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio serving as the host site. As is the case seemingly every year for this power-hitting exhibition, a big turnout is expected, and out-of-town fans can still get in on the exciting action that only takes place once a year with cheap Cincinnati flights from Hipmunk.com. In addition, Hipmunk can also aid fans with cheap Cincinnati hotels right around the ballpark, starting at just $44.
They say chicks dig the long-ball and so does everyone else, apparently. Due to the demand of this event, tickets are averaging $288.12 on the secondary market, while the get-in price is $137.
And rightfully so. There’s no shortage of star power in this year’s event, which features a unique blend of power-hitting veterans and the stars of tomorrow in Joc Pederson, Kris Bryant, Prince Fielder, Todd Frazier, Albert Pujols, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, and Anthony Rizzo. Monday’s slugfest will also present a new format that includes a tournament-style bracket, timed rounds, and bonuses based on HR distances, according to MLB.com. It will mark the second straight year that the Home Run Derby is comprised of a new format.
Due to the bracket system that attaches seeding to the sluggers based on their home run totals, Pujols, the No. 1 seed of the event and second in the league in homers (26) behind Giancarlo Stanton (27), will be challenged by Bryant, the No. 8 seed who has been enjoying a very nice rookie campaign for the Chicago Cubs.
Pederson, who has excelled in Matt Kemp’s departure and thus has earned strong consideration as a candidate for NL Rookie Of The Year, will face off against a rising star in Machado of the Baltimore Orioles. Frazier, a New Jersey native representing the hometown team, will clash with a two-time Home Run derby champ in Fielder. And in the last of the first-round matchups, Donaldson of the hard-hitting Toronto Blue Jays, who have scored the most runs in the league, will go up against the second Cub in this derby, that being Rizzo.
Aside from battling over slugging supremacy, there will be a little bit of history on the line as well in this year’s Derby event. Fielder and Pujols, the only multiple-time winners, are both on the brink of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for the all-time lead in Home Run Derby wins with three.
The vets have been here before but for the first-timers, it’s showtime and there’s no greater platform with the world watching. Exhibition games or events of this sort are generally only worth watching when the players care and along with the All-Star game, which decides home-field advantage in the World Series, there is certainly something to slug for on Monday evening.