Put On For The City
When you reach the professional ranks as an athlete, and is lucky enough to play multiple seasons for one city, you get the opportunity to adopt a new home.
Todd Frazier has become one of those lucky athletes.
Representing the hometown Reds, the New Jersey-born Frazier, defeated Joc Pedersen of the Dodgers, 15-14, in the final round, to become the 2015 Home Run Derby champ. To say that this was an entertaining duel would be an understatement.
The MLB implemented new rules into the Derby this year, giving batter 5 minutes to hit as many home runs as they can in that time span. Pedersen hit double digit home-runs in every round, his highest total coming in the finals. Frazier, using the momentum of the home town crowd, had 11 bombs at the 1 minute remaining.
At the 10 seconds mark, Frazier had tied it at 14, and on the final swing as time expired, his 15th just fell short of the wall, only making to the warning track.
Then he was blessed with 30 seconds of bonus time because of his 2 HRs that surpassed 425 feet, and that basically sealed it for him.
You didn't have to see whether or not Frazier hit a home run because the crowd would let you know when a ball was leaving the park.
In the final round, there were waves of eruptions after every swing.
The crowd became louder and louder until he finally hit that walk-off bomb, creating the loudest ovation in Great American Ball Park all season.
On his way to the Finals, Frazier defeated 2012 derby winner Prince Fielder in the first round with 14 dingers and Josh Donaldson in the semi-finals with 10, hitting the go-ahead home run in the final 10 seconds.
The 24-year old rookie, Pedersen, proved that he was a good selection for the Derby, defeating Manny Machado in the first round 13-12 and Albert Pujos 12-11.
Adding a time clock to the Derby was a great addition, primarily because it created suspense and excitement. I still appreciate the years where a batter would hit 15-20 home runs in 10 outs, but with the clock, it forced batters to swing almost every pitch. Even though they were competing to beat their opposition score, their main adversary was the clock.
Frazier's final round will go down in Derby history as one of the greatest moments ever. Before tonight, he was already a fan favorite in the city of Cincinnati, but tonight will elevate him to a new level. Frazier is the second player to win the Derby in his home park, Ryan Sanber of the Chicago Cubs winning at Wrigley Field 1990, one of the worst years in Derby history, only 5 total HRs from all contestants.
Frazier may not be the first to win it at home but he is the only one to win it in that fashion.
Frazier has cemented himself in Red's history. He'll have an opportunity to build his legend tomorrow night by winning All-Star Game MVP.