Does betting on the Home Run Derby make you a degenerate gambler?
The answer is a hard NO. Betting on the Home Run Derby is one hell of a time even if you make the mistake of picking against the guy who’s the heavy favorite. The favorite weighing in at 280 pounds and every bit of six feet and seven inches tall by the name of Aaron Judge. Little did we know he was playing on a field 10x smaller than his counterparts or so it seemed.
Going against Judge didn’t seem as crazy as it does now. All it took was the thought that the big stage would possibly make the New York Yankees rookie tighten up because playing in the Big Apple isn’t already pressure in itself. Don’t forget about Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton the other obvious choice, defending HR derby champion, headlining the event in the ballpark he plays in 81 times a year. I passed on him as well. The odds were simply just too good to pass up when it came to picking one of the underdogs in this eight-man competition where you’d think anyone could catch fire.
Here’s five different (losing) bets from Monday night.
Winner: Miguel Sano +600
Winner: Justin Bour +1600
Longest HR of First Round: Cody Bellinger +1100
Exact Finals Matchup: Sano vs Bour +2000
Exact Finals Matchup: Sano vs Bellinger +1200
So these weren’t the worst bets but they clearly weren’t winners either. Marlins’ Justin Bour stole the show for at least five minutes in round one. He hit 22 homers overall, ate a doughnut before his 30 seconds of bonus time and played off the crowd as if he was competing for the WWE’s intercontinental championship belt. This all happen moments before his round one opponent Judge came out and played pepper with the Marlins hideous statue beyond the centerfield wall, ultimately, hitting 24 home runs to eliminate Bour from the competition and two of those bets from existence.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie Cody Bellinger hit some bombs in his dramatic first round matchup win against the Colorado Rockies Charlie Blackmon (15-14) but none far enough to eclipse Judge’s 500-plus foot dingers. Another bet down the drain. My dude from the Minnesota Twins, Miguel Sano, was my only hope. He knocked out Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas in the first round (11-10) and then eliminated Yankees’ catcher Gary Sanchez (11-10) to advance to the finals.
Two of my final bets hung in the balance, Sano was in the finals, and a matchup with Bellinger would’ve salvaged the day. However, Judge stood in the way. ESPN announcer Karl Ravech didn’t make the Tiger Woods reference until the finals but he could’ve said it felt like the early 2000s Tiger where everyone else is playing for second in that matchup between Bellinger and Judge in the semis. The Yankees’ slugger wasn’t going to lose to anyone. He beat Bellinger with a score of (13-12). There was only one last bet to hold on to. It was a Sano vs. Judge final but I honestly had more confidence in Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian getting back together than Sano winning at this point. Judge won with a final of (11-10) and made it look as easy as he did the two previous rounds.
That big stage wasn’t big enough to hold down Judge, as most pitchers can’t hold him in the ballpark and most ballparks can’t hold him in the yard. It was a sight to see on Monday night. He made 500-foot homers look effortless while using every part of the stadium to add to his count. This might be remembered as the legitimate come out party for Judge on the national stage or the day that I look back on in 10 years from now, and say, that was the first home run derby I ever bet on as I bet again and lose another five bets in 2027.