First, Joc Pederson was added as a late-entrant to the 2019 Home Run Derby. Then, he requested for the Padres to lend their coach to throw to him as he did in 2015. That request was declined by the Padres.
Finally, Joc Pederson has his running-mate in the contest. Indeed, Echo Park legend (who also moonlights as the Dodgers’ third base coach) Dino Ebel has stepped up to the task.
Bill Plunkett of the OC Register has more on the long ball union that will take place on Monday night between Pederson and Ebel.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 6, 2019
According to first-hand accounts, there was a fierce competition between Ebel and Jose Vizcaino for the spot.
Now coach Dino Ebel is throwing batting practice to Pederson. Looks like a serious tryout with Jose Vizcaino for HR Derby pitching duty.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) July 5, 2019
Ebel was fine with no matter what the Dodgers’ slugger decided.
“I said to (Pederson), ‘Whatever you decide, it’s fine,’” Ebel said. “If you want someone else to do it, I’m OK with it. It’s totally his choice, because he’s the one swinging the bat. He has to trust somebody he wants out there. If he goes with me, fine. If he doesn’t, I’m good with it.”
However – in the end – the coolest head prevailed. There can only be one home run ball-tosser to Joc Pederson this year, and that man will be the guy with the wicked send from the third-base coaching box.
Dino Ebel beat out Jose Vizcaino to be Joc Pederson’s home run derby pitcher.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 6, 2019
Plunkett writes that as always, Dino was cooler than the other side of the pillow in regards to pressure.
“No pressure at all,” Ebel said. “If (Pederson) tells me the same day of the Derby, I don’t care.”
What a guy. Seriously, is there a man in baseball cooler than Dino Ebel? Obviously that question is rhetoric, because the answer is an emphatic ‘no’.
The only true question that remains – how much does this improve Pederson’s chances to win the derby? Honestly, I think it does by a bit. Ebel will be out there Monday night humming beautiful strikes that will become souvenirs by the dozen.
In life, everything happens for a reason. On Monday night, it’s Dino’s time to shine alongside Pederson.