Dodgers Joc Pederson Breaks Home Run Derby Record with Heart

A Home Run Derby for the Ages

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson participated in his second career Home Run Derby event.  He defeated Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman in the first round with 21 home runs to Bregman’s 16.

While the second round ended in Pederson’s defeat, it will be his hard fought defeat that’s remembered, not Pete Alonso’s ultimate derby victory.

After posting 21 home runs in the first round, Pederson was poised to face-off against the Toronto Blue Jays’ rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in round 2. Guerrero Jr. who advanced to the second round on a monstrous 29 home run first round performance, matched that bar with another 29 in the second round. Jr. appeared unbeatable and many – myself included – counted Pederson out immediately.

David vs Goliath

Despite Guerrero Jr. being a rookie, his impressive ability to easily crush the ball along with his slight height and weight advantage, gave the impression that Pederson was the underdog. As Pederson sat there watching Guerrero Jr. absolutely mutilate the ball to start the second round, his body language showed complete disbelief.  Regardless though, Pederson did not go quietly.  Far from it.

Dramatic Second Round

Joc Pederson matched Guerrero’s 29 home runs in the second round to push it to a tie breaker.  The tie breaker, a no-rest, 1 minute round, resulted in a more rested Guerrero Jr. adding 8 more home runs to his total.  Pederson on minimal rest from going second in the round, again matched with 8 of his own, the last of which coming at the buzzer.

This pushed the second round to a Swing-Off. The Swing-Off, a 3-swing maximum attempt to add home runs, resulted in Guerrero Jr. adding one more to his total. Again, Pederson matched with one more of his own, pushing the second round to an unprecedented second Swing-Off. In the second Swing-Off, Guerrero Jr. added 2 more home runs to push his second round total to 40. After a valiant 3 overtime effort, Pederson succumbed to the power of Guerrero and fell short by 1 home run, finishing his second round with 39. Goliath won this time, but David heart was on full display.

Pederson’s Heart on Display in Home Run Derby

Home runs weren’t the biggest thing on display Monday night, heart and determination was. Long viewed as an exhibition event that’s “just for fun” and “doesn’t really mean anything”, this home run derby was different. In fact, for this Dodger fan, it meant a lot.

Sure it can be argued that Pederson pushed Jr. to exhaustion and ultimately played spoiler, but more importantly Pederson was clutch. With $1M on the line, he came through in the clutch not once, not twice, but three times! With his back against the wall, Pederson kept battling, kept smashing and just fell short by one. Still, Joc now owns the record for the most home runs in hit in Derby history by one player with 99.

This is what Joc needs to boost him to a dominant second half.

This is what the Dodgers will need this October.

Written by Jason McClure

Technically a Dodgers bandwagon fan. At 5 years old, I decided they were my favorite team after hearing they won the World Series on my mom’s car radio in 1988. My father (technically my stepfather) watered that seed, teaching me the game and introducing me to the beauty of Dodger Stadium. We got to know each other and bonded over games. Even when we couldn’t get along during my teenage years, we could come together over Vin Scully’s voice and a game. Dodger baseball is, and will always be, so much more than just a game.


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    • “This is what Joc needs to boost him to a dominant second half.

      This is what the Dodgers will need this October”
      dodgers will need a lot more than that during October but I won’t go into detail. With the LHP that Boston has it may be that Joc sits a lot in the upcoming series. when most players are constantly in and out of the lineup, consistency is lacking and hard to find.

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