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Inside Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s incredible Derby performance

On the night he hit more than seven miles’ worth of home runs, a night that showed the world that he’s far more than the name he inherited from his famous father, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. launched himself into the annals of Home Run Derby history by smashing baseballs in never-before-seen fashion. And that, it turns out, was tiring. Vlad Jr. just wanted a moment to himself, and when he finished answering the final question about his 91-home run performance at the 2019 Derby, he took a breath and said, “Ay dios mio.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Which, actually, summed up the night pretty well. Whether it was his record-setting first round, his epicheap nfl jerseys china nikec second-round duel or his going-on-fumes final round, Vlad Jr., the 20-year-old Toronto Blue Jays rookie, will be the enduring memory of the 35th Derby. It would’ve been nice for him to beat the actual winner, New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso, and take the $1 million prize that came with the victory. Guerrero, like Mark McGwire and Josh Hamilton before him, instead settled for inspiring countless fans and viewers to utter the English translation of what he said exhaustedly as the evening neared its end: “Oh my God.”

It’s the most succinct summation of what took place on Monday at Progressive Field. Guerrero started the day with eight career major league home runs and questions about whether he belonged in the field when 181 big leaguers have hit more homers than he has this season. He erased some doubts when he deposited the first pitch he saw 462 feet off the scoreboard in left field, cleared them for good when he set a single-round record with 29 home runs in the first round and made them seem laughable after he outlasted Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson in a triple-overtime second-round battle he won 40-39.3

Yes, Vlad Jr. hit 40 home runs in a single round: 29 of them in the standard four minutes with 30 seconds of bonus time for hitting balls so far, eight in the minute-long extra period, one in a three-swing tiebreaker and two more in another tiebreaker that Pederson simply couldn’t match.

By the time Alonso hit his final home run to win the final 23-22, Guerrero’s numbers almost defied belief. He saw 207 pitches. He swung at 195 of them. He homered on 91. He hit 38,641 feet worth of home runs — the longest 488 feet, the shortest 373, the average more than 424. He finished with 34 more homers in his three rounds than Alonso. He had the seven hardest-hit balls. After one night, he has the second-most home runs in Derby history — and nearly five times as many as his father, the Hall of Fame outfielder who won the 2007 Derby.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“He was the star of the show,” said John Schneider, the Blue Jays coach who might have had the greatest vantage point in the stadium: He was pitching to Guerrero. Schneider didn’t exactly take time to admire the balls like the crowd of 36,119. He did, however, see the fruits of his labor flying high into the sky again and again and again from a right-handed swing that is equal parts pretty and ferocious. Five times in the first round Vlad Jr. hit four consecutive pitches for home runs. He dispatched Matt Chapman, a last-second replacement for the top-seeded Christian Yelich, 29-13.

During a practice round this week, Guerrero hit 17 home runs. He wasn’t satisfied with the result, Schneider said, but wasn’t worried either. Guerrero, Schneider said, declared that he was going to hit 30 in the first round and knock out Yelich. He came close to 30 against Chapman and blew past it in his slugfest with Pederson.

Guerrero’s most impressive stretch of the night came in the middle of the second round. In a 2-minute, 1-second window, he swung at 25 pitches and homered on 19 of them. It was reminiscent of Hamilton, who, in a previous format that didn’t pit players head-to-head, homered 28 times on 38 swings.