If you're wondering why there's a baseball-wide dearth of right-handed power, this is why.
It's because Giancarlo Stanton has it all.
— Bryan Grosnick (@bgrosnick) July 15, 2014
That was my favorite tweet of the night about the Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, while Giancarlo Stanton hit the most impressive home run of the night -- a towering shot into the third deck at Target Field with an official distance of somewhere between "430 feet" and "moon," Stanton failed to reach the final after putting up a goose egg in the semifinal round.
Stanton not reaching the final summed up the disappointing first three rounds of the contest -- a slow-moving, rain-delayed affair that saw Yasiel Puig put up his own zero and Todd Frazier somehow come out of the National League side of the bracket despite hitting a total of nine home runs in three rounds. Maybe it isn't the best-designed contest if someone can reach the final after "winning" 1-0 in the semifinals.
On a cool 58-degree night in Minnesota, the balls weren't flying like they were a year ago at Citi Field in New York, when temperatures topped 90 degrees. The towels to wipe off sweaty foreheads were mostly ceremonial this year.
Luckily, Yoenis Cespedes came to the rescue in the championship round, slamming nine home runs, matching his second-round total, the second-highest of the night behind the 10 that Jose Bautista hit in the first round. Included in that barrage was a 446-foot shot and a 452-foot blast, the longest "true distance" home run of the night (it had a projected actual distance of 509 feet, one foot behind Stanton's projected longest distance of 510).
Cespedes became the first back-to-back winner since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998 and 1999, cementing his reputation as one of the premier BP sluggers in the game.
The new format seemed to draw mixed reviews on Twitter and in our ESPN chat, with many fans not liking the seven outs players were given instead of 10. The other criticisms were some of the big names that were missing, most notably White Sox rookie Jose Abreu, the major league home run leader with 29. My guess is it wasn't the format that was a problem as some of the low home run totals -- Puig's zero (joining a long tradition of Dodgers faring poorly in the Derby), one from Frazier in the final, and two apiece from hometown Twins hero Brian Dozier and former Twins hero Justin Morneau. At least those two received rousing ovations from the fans, one of the nice moments of the night.
Weather aside, you do wonder if the format will be tweaked next year. Admittedly, one of the issues with the Derby is that ESPN fills a three-hour time block; the event would clearly work better at two hours. Heck, Bautista had to wait nearly two hours after hitting in the first round and getting a bye before hitting again in the third round.
But let's be honest: In a way, Josh Hamilton ruined the Home Run Derby back in 2008 at Yankee Stadium when he blasted 28 home runs in one round. That was an unconscious display of power ... something we're not likely to see anytime soon.
So don't hold the contest up to that standard every year.
And Jose Abreu -- please join the fun next year.