This past week, after a yearlong hiatus due to COVID-19, the MLB held its annual All-Star festivities. Set at Coors Field in Denver, home of the Rockies, events leading up to the anticipated “Midsummer Classic” included the Futures Game, Celebrity Softball and Home Run Derby. Here are some highlights of one of the exciting times in baseball’s regular season.
Donning white and black uniforms with bright purple, blue and orange accents, future big leaguers played Sunday to showcase their skills. Many in the crowd (composed of mostly Rockies fans) were impressed with prospect and 2019 first-round pick Michael Toglia, who crushed a two-run homer to left center. Jasson Dominguez, representing the Yankees, was the youngest player selected for the Futures Game. The switch-hitting 18-year-old managed to line drive a 106-mph ball in his first at-bat. Cubs prospect Brennen Davis, with his .423 batting average in the Double-A level, ripped two homers that day, earning him the Futures Game MVP award.
Celebrity Softball Game
A fan-favorite event, the Celebrity Softball Game did not disappoint. Widely known figures such as Quavo, Hunter Pence and Anthony Mackie put on their game faces for the event, in which softball legend Jennie Finch led one team and former Rockie Todd Helton led the other. Within five short innings, moments such as Finch striking out TikToker Josh Richards and impressive showings from internet favorite Jojo Siwa and Denver Broncos pass-rusher Von Miller kept the audience engaged. Helton’s team earned a 20-10 victory over Finch’s team, and San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White was named the game’s MVP. The game also served a philanthropic purpose and resulted in UC Health donating $100,000 to Feeding Colorado.
Home Run Derby
On Monday, New York Mets’ Pete Alonso defended his Home Run Derby title by hitting 74 total homers — 20 of which sailed more than 475 feet. Alonso kept the crown he earned as a rookie during the 2019 Home Run Derby, outdueling Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles in the final round. Though the first baseman was not named to the 2021 National League All-Star team or given as big of a spotlight as two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, Alonso proved with 23 dingers in the finals that he is perhaps the best power hitter in the league.
For the eighth consecutive year, the American League defeated the National League, this time by a score of 5-2. The 91st Midsummer Classic was full of eye-catching plays.
All eyes were glued to the phenomenon that is Ohtani, who not only participated in the prior day’s Home Run Derby but also served as the starting pitcher and leadoff hitter for the AL team. Ohtani was held hitless at the plate, but he made up for it by pitching a 1-2-3 first inning.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., meanwhile, was not without a hit. Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player to win the All-Star Game MVP, which he earned with a 110.2 mph, 468-foot bomb to left field. With his father, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. having a homer back in the 2006 All-Star Game, the Guerreros join the Bonds (Barry and Bobby) and Griffey (Ken Sr. and Jr.) families as the only father-son duos to each homer in at least one All-Star Game.
Contact Kiana Thelma Devera at [email protected].