Monday, September 27, 2021
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Pete Alonso absolutely crushed the 2021 Home Run Derby

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso repeated as Home Run Derby champion with a stunning display of raw power on Monday.

Long live the king.

While all eyes were on Shohei Ohtani in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field on Monday night, New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso reminded everyone that he still has the most effortless, powerful swing in the league. Alonso hit 23 home runs to defeat Baltimores Trey Mancini in the final and become the third player to repeat as Derby champion, joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes.

Alonso made it look easy. There was no fatigue in him in Denver’s thin air. He remained cool, taking in the moment and enjoying every bit of it.

He only seemed to get stronger as the night went on. He needed 22 homers to beat Mancini and hit 12 in his first 16 turns and 17 when he reached his extra minute. He took six swings in the extra time; everyone left the park, the last shot at 480 feet that once again gave him the trophy. Of his 29 swings in the final, 23 went to home runs.

“I’ve done this before and I’m extremely confident in my ability to hit the ball out of the yard,” he told ESPN’s Buster Olney after wrapping up his dominant power show. “I want to be the best powerhitter in the game, and it was exhibited tonight.”

That was it for sure. Ohtani went out in the first round and lost a turn to Juan Soto. Joey Gallo, another favorite before the Derby, hit just 19 and was knocked out by hometown hero Trevor Story. Alonso, the defending champion from 2019 when he beat Vladimir Guerrero Jr., was almost a forgotten man when the baseball world came down on Denver for the 2021 edition.

He then went out and hit 35 home runs in the first round, the most in Derby history for a round that did not require a turn. Two of his home runs ran more than 510 feet, the longest coming in at 514 feet. He quickly made work of Soto in the second round and did not even need the extra minute to advance to the final. Then came his brilliant finish against Mancini.

Pete Alonso shows that he belongs in the conversation for MLB’s elite power hitters

Alonso is not an All-Star this season, but he proves the derby is his time to shine. He hit 74 home runs on Monday and now has 131 in his career, the most of any player. And he has done so in the only two Derbys held since joining the league just three seasons ago.

The “polar bear” already has 86 home runs in his first 295 career matches. Only Ryan Howard, the 2006 Derby champion, ever hit so fast. The league turns its attention on Tuesday against Ohtani, Guerrero and all the other power hitters in the game. But in three glorious hours on Monday, Alonso showed that when it comes to just brutal strength, there is no better in Major League Baseball.

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