DENVER — Not many can get bounced in the first round of an event many thought they would win easily, yet still live up to the hype.
Enter Shohei Ohtani.
The Los Angeles Angels’ two-way mega-star didn’t disappoint on Monday night at Coors Field. MLB’s Home Run Derby, a sure hit with fans both at the ballpark and on TV, was frenzied, fun, and made the stadium rock from unbridled buzz.
Many fans stood at their seats to watch Ohtani swing the bat in person on the big stage in front of MLB America.
The expectations were so high — Rocky Mountain high, if you will — that some honestly believed the altitude of this place might help Ohtani leave the building.
Yes, many fans hoped to see him actually hit the ball out of the ballpark.
And while that didn’t happen, an epic battle in the first round of the event stole the show, eclipsed the eventual finals.
Yes, Ohtani and the Nationals’ Juan Soto showed out, needing double overtime and then a swing-off to determine a winner.
Ohtani’s final two homers after the three-minute playoff round ended with distances of 513 and 500 feet. Yes, moon shots. That earned Ohtani an extra minute of time. He cranked six more to tie Soto at 22 homers all.
It looked as if Ohtani was going to win it. Both tied at 28, Ohtani failed to homer on his last three swings. For sure, he looked gassed.
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