Pete Alonso Ready for This Year’s Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso is ready to take a swing at the title…

The 26-year-old Spanish-American New York Mets slugger is in for this year’s Home Run Derby at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Pete Alonso

Alonso won the contest the last time it was held, in 2019, edging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at Cleveland’s Progressive Field for his first derby title.

“I’m all-in,” Alonso said Thursday afternoon from Wrigley Field, where the Mets finish up a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. “I’m ready. If I get invited, I’d love to do it. I’d love to defend my title.”

Last year’s Home Run Derby was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 edition will take place July 12 at Colorado’s Coors Field after Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game and related festivities from Atlanta.

Alonso committed to the derby the day after hitting a monster home run that landed on the street beyond the left-center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was measured at 429 feet.

“I’m very happy that ball went far,” Alonso said. “I think Statcast kind of stumped me. I think that ball did not go [only] 429 feet, but that’s what the computer says, and I think the computer is wrong.”

Alonso’s longest home run of his career was measured at 485 feet. He thinks Wednesday’s long ball was closer to that figure than 429 feet.

“If that ball went 429 feet, that’s the shortest ball that’s ever left this stadium,” Alonso said. “I’ve hit plenty of balls here that have gone 430 feet, but if a ball leaves the stadium, there’s no way that ball went only 429 feet.”

Alonso has three home runs this season entering Thursday night’s game against the Cubs. He led the majors with 53 in 2019, his rookie year.

He enjoyed Wednesday’s homer as much as any he has hit.

“That was one of my favorite home runs I’ve hit,” he said. “That’s top five for me.”

Duki Teams Up with NBA Latam for Special Docuseries “NBA Freestyle”

Duki is taking his love of basketball to the next level…

The 24-year-old Argentine Latin trap star, whose real name is Mauro Ezequiel Lombardo, has teamed up with with NBA Latam for a 10-part series that captures not only his love for freestyle, but also sports.

Duki

The series, which launched with its first episode this week, is part of the NBA’s commitment to offer local productions in Latin America. New episodes will launch on the NBA Latam YouTube channel every Wednesday.

During the 10 episodes, Duki will tell his relationship with basketball and the NBA from when he was a child to this day through an exclusive interview, reactions to the best players in the league and even singing a series of themed freestyles.

“I remember the first NBA game I ever watched,” he recalled. “I was home with my brother in Santa Teresita and the All-Star Game happened to be on at 2 o’clock in the morning. I was crazy about it… I remember Allen Iverson’s braids in that game. I’ve been a fan ever since.”

The series includes an exclusive song that will only be available on the NBA Latam YouTube channel. For the making of the video, Duki wears the shirt of one of his favorite players today: the Argentine, Facundo Campazzo of the Denver Nuggets.

“I had first spoken to Facu and he answered me. In a cross of words and jokes. He already knew who I was. I really want to do a song for him, with him by my side, a good heavy trap”

The series also includes unique video content highlighting the intersection of basketball, entertainment and lifestyle.

Ernesto Jerez Named a Finalist for Ford C. Frick Award for Excellence in Baseball Broadcasting

Ernesto Jerez has voiced his way to the top…

The 52-year-old Dominican sportscaster and commentator for ESPN Deportes has been named a finalist for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting

Ernesto Jerez

Jerez has worked ESPN Deportes’ Sunday Night Baseball for more than 25 years along with the World Series, All-Star Game and World Baseball Classic.

He’ll face off against Hall of Fame pitchers Dizzy Dean and Don Drysdale, along with Fox‘s Joe Buck, ESPN‘s Dan Shulman and NBC‘s Al Michaels.

Dave Campbell and Buddy Blattner also are finalists, the Hall said Monday.

The winner will be announced on Dec.ember 9 and will be honored next July 24 ahead of the Hall of Fame inductions, along with 2020 Frick winner Ken Harrelson. The 2020 ceremonies were called off became of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s Frick Award is for national voices, part of a three-year rotation that includes broadcasting beginnings (autumn 2021) and major league markets (autumn 2022).

Broadcasters must have at least 10 continuous years of major league broadcast service with a team, network or combination.

Arizona Diamondbacks Trade Starling Marte to the Miami Marlins

Starling Marte is headed to the Sunshine State…

The 31-year-old Dominican professional baseball player has been traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Miami Marlins, according to ESPN.

Starling Marte

In exchange for Marte, an MLB All-Star in 2016, the Marlins will send Caleb Smith, Humberto Mejia and a player to be named later to the Diamondbacks, according to sources.

Meanwhile, the Marlins sent outfielder Jonathan Villar to the Toronto Blue Jays, reports ESPN.

Marte is hitting .311 with 23 runs scored this season. He has a $12.5 million option on his contract for next year.

It has been a tumultuous and difficult year for Marte. His wife, Noelia, died of a heart attack in May.

That followed his trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Diamondbacks in January, after he had spent his entire eight-year career with the Pirates.

Marte has a career .288 batting average with 110 homers, 434 RBIs and 244 steals. He had career highs last season with 23 homers and 82 RBIs.

Marte won Gold Gloves in 2015 and ’16.

He reached the All-Star Game in 2016 but also served an 80-game suspension in 2017 after testing positive for steroids.

Toronto’s Marc Gasol Preparing for Emotional First Matchup Against Former Memphis Grizzlies Team

Marc Gasol is preparing for an emotional first…

The 35-year-old Spanish professional basketball player, currently playing for the Toronto Raptors, is mentally preparing to face-off against his former team.

Marc Gasol,

Gasol played for parts of 11 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, going to three All-Star Games with the team’s jersey on his back, earning two All-NBA selections there and a Defensive Player of the Year award.

And now, he’ll play against his former team for the first time.

The Grizzlies face Gasol and the Raptors on Sunday. It’ll be the first game between the clubs since Gasol was traded to Toronto in February 2019 — a move that helped the Raptors win last season’s NBA championship.

Gasol said facing Memphis would be emotional.

“I got there when I was 16 years old. It was my first time out of Spain,” said Gasol, who still owns his Memphis home. “I started high school there as a teenager and left as a father of two kids. … My ties to the city and my roots go pretty deep and my love for the people there, what they mean and the franchise, it’s forever.”

Gasol helped Memphis make the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons including the 2013 run to the Western Conference finals. He’s the Grizzlies’ all-time leader for minutes played, field goals made, free throws made and attempted, rebounds, blocks and triple-doubles and is second in points — 49 behind Mike Conley.

The Raptors were supposed to have played back-to-back games against Memphis this season, going there on March 28 and then playing host to the Grizzlies March 30. Those games were called off due to the season suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Obviously it’s a little bittersweet that we couldn’t play in the city of Memphis, to get that love and feel that Iove from the fans,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “But I’m sure he’ll be happy to see some familiar faces and a lot of the people that he spent a lot of time with over the years.”

Javier Baez to Bat Second for National League in the MLB All-Star Game

It’s batter up for Javier Baez

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball player and shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, nicknamed “El Mago,” is slated to bat second for the National League in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game.

Javier Baez

Baez, in his second straight All-Star Game, will follow lead-off hitter and Milwaukee Brewers slugger Christian Yelich, who bowed out of the Home Run Derbywith a back issue. Yelich leads the majors with 31 home runs.

He’ll befollowed by Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie FreemanLos Angeles Dodgersright fielder Cody BellingerColorado Rockiesthird baseman Nolan ArenadoPittsburgh Pirates‘ Josh Bell at designated hitter, Cubs catcher Willson ContrerasArizona Diamondbackssecond baseman Ketel Marte and Atlanta center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr.

The National League has the youngest starting lineup in All-Star Gamehistory, with an average age of 25.75. The previous record was 26.4 by the 2017 ALstarters.

Houston Astros‘ George Springer leads off and plays right field for the American League and is followed in the order by New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieuLos Angeles Angels center fielder Mike TroutCleveland Indians’ first baseman Carlos SantanaBoston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez, Houston third baseman Alex Bregman, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Astros left fielder Michael Brantley and Minnesota Twins’ shortstop Jorge Polanco.

Cora joked about LeMahieu’s success against the Red Sox in his first season after leaving the Rockies for New York — especially when Boston played the Yankees in London last month.

“People in the offseason thought that he wasn’t going to be able to hit outside of Colorado. Well, he hits outside of Colorado and in Europe, too,” Cora said.

Pete Alonso Defeats Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a Battle of Rookies to Win Home Run Derby

Pete Alonsois officially a home run champion…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player, a first baseman for the New York Mets, outslugged the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a battle of rookies to win the Home Run Derby at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Monday night.

Pete Alonso

Guerrero had broken the Derby’s single-round record in each of the first two rounds, but after surviving an exhausting duel with Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the semifinal round, Guerrero didn’t have enough to beat Alonso in the final.

The Blue Jays rookie, trying to follow in the footsteps of his Hall of Famefather, who won the event in San Francisco in 2007, went first in the final, and after initially struggling to duplicate his earlier pace, he picked it up after calling a second timeout and finished with 22 home runs.

Alonso, unique in the competition in sending most of his hits toward center field, then followed with 23 to spare to end it with plenty of time. 

He became the first Met to win the event since Darryl Strawberrywas a co-champion in 1986.

“That was a blast. Oh my god, that was a blast,” Alonso said after his win. “I’m gonna remember that for the rest of my life.”

With the win came a cool $1 million bonus to supplement Alonso’s base salary of $555,000. 

He said he would donate 10% of his winnings between two charities, the Wounded Warriors Projectand the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

“I have the utmost respect for the people that put their lives on the line every single day — and I just wanna show my gratitude, because a bad day for me is a lot different than a bad day for the servicemen and women that serve this country,” Alonso said.

Guerrero has eight major league home runs in his rookie year, and he hit 44 total homers in the minors. But at the Derby, he hit 91.

The biggest drama of the night came in the semifinal round, when he needed three tiebreakers to eliminate Pederson 40-39.

Before this year’s Derby, only six players had hit 40 home runs in an entire event, much less a single round.

“I feel bad for him,” an exhausted Pederson said after his final swing. “He’s gotta keep hitting; I’m toast.”

Pederson, who lost in the final as a rookie in 2015, now has the most combined home runs at the Derby all time, with 99, while Guerrero — in his first appearance — tied the previous record of 91 held by Todd Frazier, who also competed twice.Guerrero did have the honor of hitting the longest homer of the night, 488 feet, in the second round. That netted him a $100,000 bonus to go with his $500,000 for finishing second, which more than equals his season’s salary of $468

Pete Alonso Sets National League Rookie Record with 68 RBIs Before the All-Star Break

Pete Alonso may be a rookie, but he’s already makin’ a name for himself in Major League Baseball

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player and New York Mets first baseman, ready to play in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Cleveland, has set the National League rookie record with 68 RBIs before the break.

Pete Alonso

He hit his 30th home run of the season Sunday in an 8-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, driving in two runs with the shot, to set the mark.

He was tied with Albert Pujols, who had 66 for the St. Louis Cardinalsin 2001. Walt Droposet the major league mark of 83 for the Boston Red Soxin 1950.

His 30 home runs are tied for the second most by a rookie in major league history before the All-Star break. The New York Yankees‘ Aaron Judge also hit 30 in 2017. Mark McGwireholds the major league record, with 33 for the Oakland Athletics in 1987 before the break.

Pitbull to Perform at This Week’s MLB All-Star Events

Pitbull is preparing for an All-Star affair…

The 36-year-old Cuban-American rap superstar will perform during ceremonies Monday night before the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Home Run Derby.

Pitbull

Bebe Rexha will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” Tuesday night before the All-Star Game at Marlins Park and Jocelyn Alice will sing “O Canada.”

Jennifer Hudson will sing at a private party in Miami Beach hosted by Stand Up to Cancer and Mastercard on Sunday night, when there also will be a New Era event with Amine and Metro Boomin.

Lenny Kravitz will perform Monday night at the Major League Baseball Players Association party in Miami.

Rapper Lil Jon was to perform at the All-Star 5K on Saturday night and Don Omar at the All-Star Zumba experience on Sunday, when Flo Rida is to give a show at Marlins Park between the All-Star Futures Game and the celebrity softball game.

Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano Headed to the MLB All-Star Game

Robinson Cano will be reporting for MLB All-Star duty…

The 34-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a second basemen for the Seattle Mariners, is among seven replacement players selected for Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Miami.

Robinson Cano

Cano, who has the world’s fifth-largest sports contract at $240 million, is an 8-time All-Star.

Other replacement players to the American League roster include Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer and Toronto Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna, Houston Astros reliever Chris Devenski, Minnesota Twins reliever Brandon Kintzler and Detroit Tigers outfielder Justin Upton.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood was added to the National League All-Stars.

Three of the original All-Stars are on the disabled list and won’t be active for the game: Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro and Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel.

Four pitchers on the All-Star rosters won’t be active because they are scheduled to start Sunday: the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, Texas RangersYu Darvish, Cleveland IndiansCorey Kluber and Detroit’s Michael Fulmer.