The game’s most breathtaking act is coming to launch longballs in LoDo.
On Friday, Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani announced his participation in the 2021 Home Run Derby, which will be held July 12 at Coors Field.
Count Rockies manager Bud Black as one of millions of baseball fans eager to see Ohtani, a 26-year-old generational two-way talent, in the annual event.
“The more high-profile players we can get into that thing, it’s awesome,” Black said. “Right now, there’s no player who is more exciting than him. What a talent: (Right-handed) pitcher, hitter, power, speed. Yeah, let’s put that type of power on display. It’s great for the game and it’s great for entertainment.”
The left-handed-hitting Japanese slugger has only played four career games at Coors Field, with no home runs.
But during a batting practice session ahead of a game in LoDo on May 8, 2018, Ohtani put on a show that should forecast his ability to hit home runs at a mile-high elevation next month. Ohtani hit a number of home runs in the round, including a mammoth shot to right-center that hit off the upper deck and likely cleared 500 feet.
This season, Ohtani ranks third in baseball with 19 homers behind Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who both have 22.
Black specifically mentioned Yankees Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton as other sluggers he’d like to see in the derby, although Judge shot that possibility down Friday ahead of New York’s game against Oakland.
“I’ve got no interest unless the All-Star Game is back in New York,” Judge told reporters.
And Black noted that “hopefully we get a Rockie in there.” Ryan McMahon and Trevor Story are the most viable candidates to represent Colorado in the annual event, which has had a home team rep in each of the past seven derbies.
McMahon leads the Rockies with 16 homers entering the weekend, ranking the infielder tied for eighth in the majors. Story, meanwhile, is enduring a down year power-wise (and he also dealt with an injury list stint for a right elbow strain) as the shortstop has just five homers.
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