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Yoenis Cespedes wins his second Home Run Derby in a row

Jul 14, 2014, 11:52 PM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.50.21 PM Getty Images

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — It was delayed by rain and taken over by a new format that didn’t, despite its intended goal, speed anything up. But in the end a winner was crowned and it was Yoenis Cespedes. He beat Todd Frazier in the finals, 9 homers to 1.   It was the second year in a row Cespedes took home the little silver bat trophy. The last and only player to win back to back Home Run Derbies before Cespedes was Ken Griffey Jr., who did so in 1998 and 1999.

The odds-on favorite tonight, Giancarlo Stanton, didn’t even make it out of the semifinals. Indeed, he didn’t hit a single homer in the semis, beaten by Frazier 1-0. One has to wonder if the new format for 2014 in which the player with the most homers in the first round got a bye into the semis didn’t work against Stanton. As this event drags, Stanton spent a long time on a cold night not doing anything. As did first round AL leader Jose Bautista, who likewise didn’t make it out of the semis, falling to Cespedes.

But it was Cespedes’ night overall, not just in the finals. He needed to win a tiebreaker over teammate Josh Donaldson to make it out of the first round, but did so and after that had the least amount of rest and down time than anyone. He got stronger as the night wore on, hitting nine in the second round, seven in the third round and then nine in the final. Frazier took a similar path, needing a swing-off against Justin Morneau in the first round and then hitting six in a strong second round. Then came that freakish 1-0 round against Stanton.

Was this a success? Sure, for Cespedes it was. And for the folks who count the money at Major League Baseball and ESPN. They got over 40,000 butts in the seats here in Target Field for over five hours and a lot of TV programming on a night when there were no other sporting events.

But it’s hard to say it was satisfying. It dragged on just as long under the new format as the old and a format tweak may have worked against two of the favorites and the two hitters who broke best out of the gaete in Bautista and Stanton.


  1. 49faithful - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Awesome but let’s not slump again like we did last year OK?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      He was actually a bit better after the break than before it last season. Good but not great in both halves.

      • clydeserra - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        the issue was not production, as much as a wrist injury that sidelined him for a bit after the derby

  2. thomas844 - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    “And for the folks who count the money at Major League Baseball and ESPN. They got over 40,000 butts in the seats here in Target Field for over five hours and a lot of TV programming on a night when there were no other sporting events.”

    And a ton of money went to charity also. So there’s that.

  3. phillysports1 - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    Cuban Power

  4. syphermce - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    You know, I have nothing against Yoenis Cespedes. He’s a great player. But, if you are going to work in American, yes baseball is a job, LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH! You make multi-million dollars per year, use some of that money to learn the language of the country that allows you the privilege of playing baseball in.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:12 AM

      You didn’t think there was enough English on those balls?

    • Reflex - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      1) This country has no official language, and that’s by design
      2) Lots of people in this country speak primarily and sometimes only Spanish
      3) There is nothing about his job that requires him to speak English
      4) Get over it

      • stoutfiles - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:37 AM

        1) California’s official language is English.
        2) 80% of Americans speak English as a first language; 95% of Americans can speak English.
        3) Not being able to talk with many fans is a bummer though.
        4) I’ll try.

      • clydeserra - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        hey stoutfiles

        1) California has no official language.

        2) IN fact making English the official language would be a violation of the treaty of guatelupe Hildalgo raising the possibility of california, nevada arizona and utah reverting back to mexico, where spanish would be the official language.

      • stoutfiles - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:25 PM


        The official language of California has been English since the passage of Proposition 63 in 1986.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      Obviously you don’t know much about him, or bothered to check, since it’s well reported that he has been learning English ever since he arrived here–even though he wisely still uses an interpreter to ensure no misunderstandings occur. Not that it should matter to you so long as his employer is satisfied.

    • gerryb323 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      This comment is deliciously ironic in so many ways!

    • jrmycmpfan - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:29 AM

      I was waiting for comments like this. He speaks English, but like other international players, they aren’t comfortable speaking English in front of cameras. Would you if you were him? Or would you rather speak your native language, so you don’t risk making a mistake and making a fool of yourself in front of millions of people?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        All I can think of is Chris Farley on the Japanese game show:

    • clydeserra - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:32 AM


    • thatsnuckinfuts - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:01 AM

      Learn the laws of the country you ignorant tool

    • Bryz - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:11 AM

      Plenty of foreign players do speak English, they just refrain from using it in interviews and in public to avoid embarrassing themselves on accident. I assume you have no fear about this and would be totally fine spending a few years in Japan and then attempt to carry a conversation on national TV, because it can’t possibly be that difficult, right?

    • Ayase Yano - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:17 AM

      Try speaking Japanese in Japan then. Who the f*** cares about the language required!? Just as long you do your job as a Yakyu/Baseball player then it’s fine.

      We appreciate your foreign players who speaks little or no Japanese, just as long they play that they care to WIN then that alone is enough for us.

    • trickybastard - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:20 AM

      I bet you are most likely from the Midwest or Texas, white, conservative and religious

      • hoopmatch - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:17 AM

        Not much for stereotyping, are you?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:24 AM

        Lots of people speak Spanish in Texas. In fact, some of us call the place Tejas.

        That J is like an H.

      • stex52 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        And I’m guessing you are a bigot. These days most everyone in Texas knows some or a lot of Spanish. Come to Houston. They speak 105 languages there.

  5. missingdiz - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    Big strong guy. Yawn.

    • sabatimus - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:06 AM

      It’s not baseball. It’s BP.

  6. missingdiz - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    On second thought–it would be more interesting to have a bunting derby. The fielders should be the starting infielders of the other team–obviously some incentives needed to get them to play hard. They could go through rounds of bunting–and the bunters have to leg them out and make it to first safely! Each round they pull the infielders in another x feet. There would be a lot more action than the HR derby, and I’d say probably more skill and athleticism.

    • Reflex - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      That actually sounds pretty cool. Man it woulda been awesome when Ichiro was in his prime…

    • stipez - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      There was one in Korea, Im not sure where I saw it. They had bullseyes on the sweetspot just before the corner bags you had to roll the ball too. Like darts, closer to red is more points. And this…

      • renaado - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    • byjiminy - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      If you didn’t want to risk people pulling a muscle during an exhibition you could have them bunt at targets.

      Rod Carew used to put a glove down the third base line during batting practice and bunt balls right into it, time after time.

  7. jjschiller - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    They’ll never stop doing this thing until we stop watching it.

  8. historiophiliac - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    So much for those pretty-boy abs…

    • jwbiii - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      Are you suggesting that Cespedes isn’t ripped?

      • historiophiliac - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Awww, you guys are so young there.

  9. slats7 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    Yasiel Puig got confused and bunted the runners over.

  10. slats7 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    José Canó for Cy Young.

    0 HR’s given up in 2 HR derbys!

  11. gdobs227 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    Woooooo! America will probably forget about this as quickly as they forgot about soccer. But hey, congratulations, I guess.

    • ashot - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      Holy non-sequitur Batman!

  12. gdobs227 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Does this give the A’s home field advantage throughout the playoffs?

  13. slats7 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Ban Chris Berman (or mute the mic if he is allowed to pxp the derby and uses “back, back, back” too much).

    • roundballsquarebox24 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      Or switch to ESPN Deportes, where they actually make it fun.

  14. ohiobears - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    Down goes frazierrrrrrrr

  15. gritzblitz66 - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    It was like watching paint dry. Just flat out boring tv that benefits from it being done during the slowest times for sports.

  16. mungman69 - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:03 AM

    Que pasa, Mother

  17. emdash01 - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    Lot of weird choices in this one. Beyond the format, there were the odd camera angles that made it difficult to follow what was happening (catcher cam? over the pitcher’s shoulder cam? stop) and the camera people following the ball appeared never to have shot a home run before as they seemed to have constant trouble figuring out where the ball would land. They’d fail to show some of the outs because they got distracted by doofuses high-fiving in the stands. I

    Even worse was the choice of Kruk for the booth. Say what you will about Berman – and there are many, many things you could say – at least part of his cheesy schtick is that he sounds excited about the home runs, which is the point of the thing. If Kruk has enjoyed anything about baseball in 20 years, it’s not obvious to me – he was trying to do swing analysis and sounded nothing but sour and dour.

    • Ayase Yano - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:50 AM

      I find this Berman guy amusing, even though the MLB all star game was dubbed in Japanese here, I can still here that back back back quack statement.

      • renaado - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:40 AM

        Search the White Sox commentator Hawk Harrelson, truly worth it.

      • ironcurtin64 - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        I really dislike Hawk Harrelson; he’s the definition of a homer. Ironically, I love his homerun call “Put it on the board, yes!” I even have my grandson saying it when we play whiffle ball.

  18. jimmyt - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    Wonder Boy Puig really put on a show huh?

  19. trbmb - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    I certainly missed listening to that superb Berman fella, he is a brilliant baseball person. But for some reason every time I change my TV over to the ESPN channel, my TV powers off. Can’t understand it. Anyway, I did finally realize the most worthless event in the world last night may have been this HR Derby thing. Thus, having again missed the event, now forever, I feel my life is more complete. I will try again next year to miss this. Me and my buddy Selig, the former Commissioner.

  20. joshfrancis50 - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    I know there was a rain delay, but if this thing needs to start earlier. I have 5 and 6 year old boys who love baseball. They watch highlights of most games every morning on MLB At Bat and were really excited for the HR Derby when I told them about it. Outside of the Reds, our team, they don’t really know the major stars. So what bugs me about the late (8:00 is late for a 6 year old) start is that this seems to be an exhibition in the truest sense and a chance to attract young fans (kids dig the long ball) but starts too late for them to see much.

    My sons were excited to watch Todd Frazier, and fortunately for them he went first, but they also wanted to see why dad talks about Tulo and Yasiel and this guy “John Carlo” who hits monster homeruns. Alas, they saw Frazier and it was time for bed. Fortunately their mom let them stay up for two more guys but most of this spectacle was absolutely lost on my boys.

    The same can and has been said about the World Series and many other events; I just feel like this in particular, an exhibition with tepid interest as it is, could really help draw kids in and help develop their fandom by being more accessible, particularly when they are at an impressionable age. Baseball needs to cater more to young kids if MLB expects them to be the future revenue drivers for the sport.

  21. misterpatient - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    I’m glad I attended to check it off a proverbial bucket list, but I would never go to another HR Derby again unless someone paid me. It was essentially like watching a 3-hr porn film where the performers never changed positions and the camera never moved.

  22. cabrera24 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    I always wonder why are some Americans racist towards Hispanics..

  23. stupidusername - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    The rain delay assured no one would watch as the 24 finale started at 9pm.

    Did catch the Todd Frazier showcase of skating through a “swing-off” and round 2 vs Stanton with a combined 2 HR’s.

    Tournament format, 1 vs 1, poorly done MLB, poorly done… You can’t play defense or affect another hitter’s score so why is it a 1-on-1 format? Oh, the HR’s I hit an hour ago don’t count anymore? And I’ve been sitting here doing nothing for an hour and you want me to hit again?

  24. elvin2014 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Austin Karp @AustinKarp · 2 h
    ESPN gets 3.9 overnight for HR Derby after 1-hour rain delay last night. Down from 5.0 last year. 9pmET start was ESPN latest ever for event

    Austin Karp @AustinKarp · 2 h
    Despite rain delay and ratings drop, HR Derby top event on cable TV last night. Digital audience also up for ESPN

  25. pantherpro - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Nobody cares about Cespedes or A’s in Bay Area regardless of their record. The Giants are King and A’s backpage news as usual!

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