MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the world of Major League Baseball prepares to enjoy an exciting couple days of All-Star festivities, fans across the country are in for a treat during Monday’s Home Run Derby that Miami Marlins followers are all too familiar with.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will be participating in the Home Run Derby for the first time and anyone who has followed his career of monster home runs knows that we could all be in for a big treat when the spotlight is on baseball’s best sluggers Monday night at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stanton is a favorite to win the Derby and put on a heck of a show while doing so.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond was asked by Stanton to join him in Minnesota and pitch to him during the Home Run Derby.
Redmond regularly pitches to Stanton during batting practice and has a good idea of what to expect on Monday night. The majority of Stanton’s home runs travel much father then the distances displayed on outfield walls around the league and Redmond expects that trend to continue.
“I know he’s going to hit some home runs,” said Redmond. “Hopefully it’s just a matter of how far they go.”
The Marlins wrapped up a series against division rival New York on Sunday and Mets outfielder Bobby Abreu is no stranger to the Derby. Abreu won the event back in 2005, setting records for most home runs hit in the first round (24) and most home runs ever hit in a Home Run Derby (41).
The previous record was 27 home runs, set by Miguel Tejada the year before. Abreu surpassed Tejada’s total in the second round of the ’05 Derby before finishing with a flurry that set the new record at 41, a mark that still stands today.
Abreu was happy to share some simple advice for Stanton before he embarks on his first All-Star experience.
“He just has to enjoy it and not put too much pressure on himself,” explained Abreu. “More than anything, he needs to relax.”
Easier said than done, right? While that remains to be seen, Stanton seemed to have his head in the right place when asked about his approach to the slugging competition.
“Just be relaxed is the biggest thing,” said Stanton. “You just have to not try too much. You’re going to have the crowd and everything. You just have to remember what got you there.
“If it goes over the fence, it goes over,” he added. “120 feet past or one foot past, it’s the same amount of points. If I wanted to stand there and look pretty I’d just take selfies all day and post them up.”
While pulling out his cell phone and taking a selfie would be a very cool, touchdown-like celebration, it seems that Stanton has the right mindset heading into the Home Run Derby.
As much as fans would love that kind of a show, I’m sure we’d all be just as happy with a power-hitting display that would show all of baseball what fans in Miami already know…that Stanton is worthy of the world-wide spotlight that so many great home run hitters have received before him.