The WNBA is now entering its 30th season, and for the second time in league history, the Sacramento Monarchs hold the title of longest-tenured team, having stayed together since 1997. The Monarchs may have won the title for 20 consecutive years, but they have never won it again. An interesting question to ponder: How many titles would the Monarchs have won if they had been able to switch opponents after winning it once and having the next two opponents win the title?
OK, so if you are like me, you are in it for the long haul, not just for an event, but for the entirety of the life-cycle of the team you support. You want to witness the rise, and subsequent fall, of your favorite team. You want to get to know the players, coaches and owners. You want to cheer them to victory, and to bring them to their knees in defeat. This is the life-cycle of the fan.During the traditional baseball season, the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game are, of course, not to be missed.
Although the All-Star Game is not as important as it once was, the Home Run Derby is still an extremely popular event. The top players, including defending champion Pete Alonso, will compete at Coors Field and try to hit as many homeruns as possible in the mountains.
Since the Derby opened in 1985, it has produced some of the best home racers in the sport. Alonso, the Mets’ first baseman, wants to make history this summer.
Has anyone ever won the Home Run Derby twice, or can Mets first baseman Pete Alonso make history? | Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Alonso set a rookie and MLB record with 53 home runs for the Mets in 2019. But one night in July, the All-Star first baseman showed off his powerful swing on national television.
Alonso, who was 24 at the time, hit 57 home runs in the 2019 Derby. He defeated Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who hit an impressive 91 home runs on the night, 23-22 in the final round. Although Guerrero hit far more home runs than Alonso, he lost the game due to the bracket format.
Now Alonso is back for more. He is one of eight players in this year’s derby and, with the league not hosting the 2020 game, is still the defending champion. The third-year first baseman is ranked fifth and will face catcher Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals in the first round.
If Alonso wins his second Derby in a row, he will follow in the footsteps of Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey, the Mariners’ legendary outfielder, won three Home Run Derbies for the MLB during his career. He won his second title in 1998 at Coors Field, where the tournament will be held this year. He also won at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh in July 1994 and at Fenway Park in Boston in 1999.
For more than a decade, Griffey remained the only player to win the Home Run Derby multiple times. Next up is Prince Fielder, who won the Derby in 2009 with the Milwaukee Brewers and in 2012 with the Detroit Tigers.
Fielders home runs at Kauffman Stadium in 2012 must have done something in the water. Then Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes recorded back-to-back victories in 2013 (City Field in New York) and 2014 (Target Field in Minneapolis).
The chances of Alonso joining Cespedes, Fielder and Griffey as multiple champions, at least this year, are slim.
At press time, The Action Network gave Alonso odds of +450 ($100 bet and $550 win) to win the Derby. He is third behind Angels star Shohei Ohtani (+300) and Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo (+350).
Perez – Alonso’s opponent in the first round – and Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini have the lowest odds at +1000. The odds are +600 for Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, a hometown hero who could be traded in the coming weeks.
Nationals right-hander Juan Soto (+500) and Athletics first baseman Matt Olson (+750) round out the group. Alonso can only hope that his experience will help him become the fourth multiple champion.
– betting odds provided by The Action Network at 11. July 2021. How to get help: In the United States, you may contact the National Gaming Council hotline at 1-800-522-4700.
COMPARED TO: Alex Rodriguez says he exploded on the streets of New York and threw up after hearing his contract with the Boston Red Sox was rejected by the MLBPA
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