home run derby
(Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Prepare For Potentially The Most Exciting Home Run Derby Ever

Just this last week, it was announced that the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star game plus its festivities would be moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Denver, Colorado. The move had to do with the change in voting rights in the state, and the distaste MLB had for it. What this means, however, is that the ultra exciting home run derby will now take place in the mile-high city. If you haven’t heard, the ball kinda sprouts wings and flies when hit into the air in Denver.

No matter what they seem to do, the ball seems to find a way to always leave the ballpark in Denver. First, it was installing the humidors to moisten the balls, and now it’s the “deadening” of the balls by not wrapping them as tightly. Home run rates are always through the roof regardless. The reason? The high elevation of the stadium around 5,100 feet above sea level. What this does is creates thin, dry air which makes the ball cut through better and leave the yard ultimately. Every season Coors Field remains in the top five in average home runs hit per game. In 2019, it was at 1.266.

So how has this played out before having the home run derby in Denver? Well amazingly actually. It last occurred almost 23 years ago on July 6, 1998. This was in fact the height of the steroid era so not only did you have the ball flying due to the thin air, but batters were eating a balanced breakfast. Those who participated included Ken Griffey Jr, Mark McGwire, Jim Thome, and Vinny Castilla. McGwire hit a ball that traveled 510 feet. Jim Thome hit 17 and Vinny Castilla hit one that traveled 476 feet. Griffey Jr won it in the end with an astounding 19 home runs.

In today’s game, many could replicate these distance numbers even without steroids. The young crop of talent has scary power especially with how much home runs are emphasized these days. Giancarlo Stanton could really mash a few well over 500 feet. Add his teammate Aaron Judge to the mix as well. Nationals outfielder Juan Soto if given the chance may hit many long-distance home runs. Regardless of the hitter, the power will be amplified to the extreme. The ball will fly.

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