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BLOMBERG COLUMN: Future of America's Pastime in good hands
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AROUND THE HORN

BLOMBERG COLUMN: Future of America's Pastime in good hands

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If you missed it, you missed a sneak peak at the future of Major League Baseball. But even if you somehow failed to catch the 2021 MLB All-Star Game on July 13 at Coors Field, you can rest assured that the future of the game is in good hands.

After COVID-19 sent last year’s Mid-Summer Classic to the showers, anticipation for this year’s contest was at an all-time high, and perched in the mile high city of Denver, Colo., the players did not disappoint.

Leading off the festivities was the traditional Home Run Derby which took place Wednesday night. In that artillery barrage, former Madison Mallards rocket man and current New York Mets star, Pete Alonso, successfully defended his title to win his second straight Home Run Derby Championship in just his third year as a pro.

Right off the bat Alonso let it be known who the reigning champion was as he crushed a record setting total of 35 HRs in the opening round!

After that it was mop-up time for Alonso as he swept past Juan Soto to reach the finals against Trey Mancini. Then, 23 long balls later, Alonso reclaimed his crown.

In capturing back-to-back Home Run Derby titles Alonso found himself in select company. Only Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and former Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes have ever won consecutive championships.

In regards to the actual All-Star Game, history was made as Los Angeles Angels young phenom Shohei Ohtani became the first athlete to be selected as both a pitcher and positional player.

Not only did Ohtani play both ways, he was picked as the American League’s starting pitcher as well as its leadoff man. All this coming on the heels of the Home Run Derby in which he also dazzled the crowd, despite falling to Soto in the quarterfinals.

While youthful stars such as Alonso and Ohtani made this year’s All-Star Game one to remember, another young powerhouse made it even more memorable. In the top of the second inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whose 31 home runs are second in the AL only to Ohtani’s 34, launched a moon shot off Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes which touched down some 468 feet from home, giving the AL an early 2-0 advantage.

Powered by Guerrero’s blast, the 200th in All-Star Game history, the AL would go on to win its eighth straight match-up by a final of 5-2. Ohtani would earn the win for the AL Squad while Guerrero would be named MVP.

Alonso, Ohtani, Guerrero.

These are but a few of the youthful stars lighting up the Major League skies. Others include Fernando Tatis Jr., Joey Gallo, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Max Muncy, Brandon Woodruff, the aforementioned Soto, Mancini and Burnes, along with a host of others.

With the 91st All-Star Game in the books, traditionalists can rest assured. In spite of all the tinkering and tweaking, the game will remain in good hands for many years to come.

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