Cuban Yoennis Cespedes won his second trophy in the Home Run Derby of the All-Star Game, historical fact since for more than a decade no hitter had repeated the crown.
The commentators were impressed by the display of power by the Granma slugger, who boasted a compact and brutal swing, capable of sending the ball out of bounds over every fence, something the other contenders did not come close to emulating in a rainy night hampering the work of the sluggers.
To start, the eyes of everyone were on huge American Giancarlo Stanton, new model of power in the majors, or Jose Bautista, probably the most consistent slugger in the last five years when has been healthy. Many also focused their hopes on the other Cuban, the Cienfuegos Yasiel Puig, a lover of show and pressure.
But gradually all fell wayside and fell like a house of cards, diminished by the huge connections by Céspedes, who bombed the stands from all angles and in all possible ways, same with elevated high-rise Tiger Woods style, or fierce lines ready to destroy walls and drill fans gloves.
From the first to abandon the struggle was Puig, desperate and uncoordinated in his first experience in the Derby, details that took their toll, as he himself acknowledged after completing his journey without sending any ball into the stands.
“I rushed too much in the round, I got desperate. Now I can only look to next year, I will try to be here and do better, “said the Dodgers outfielder to broadcasters giving coverage to the event.
“With patience everything can be done. I said it to him before, but he ignored me. In practice we work and I realized he was very rushed; it’s very difficult to make the ball travel, “José Cano, father of Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who served as a pitcher for Puig, said.
Instead, Céspedes´ approach was perfect, especially in the three decisive rounds after recovering from a shaky start (only five homers), which was about to run him out, then he advanced alone thanks to the victory in the tiebreaker with Josh Donaldson, his partner in the Oakland Athletics.
After the pressure test, he heated engines and opened a difficult trail to follow by Adam Jones, Jose Bautista and Todd Frazier, his victims in the decisive rounds, who were stunned by the constancy of the Cuban, author of 25 homers in these three rounds, including one in the last to 452 feet, the longest homer of the night.
Literally, the Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins, was minuscule compared to the bombings of the Cuban, third man to win two home run derbies since their inception in 1985.
What’s more, Cespedes becomes only the second slugger to win two Derby contests in a row, a feat accomplished 15 years ago by the star Ken Griffey Jr., winner of the 1998 and 1999 competitions.
“Defending the trophy represented something very big for me, because I knew that for many years no one had repeated the title. After the first round I took a breath and selected better the pitches, went into heat and I realized I could win, “admitted the Cuba when he went to collect his awards, supported at all times by also Cubans José Dariel Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Aroldis Chapman, who joked overnight with the Granma player.
“I know well how to focus; I can handle the pressure and enjoy the atmosphere. The crowd noise instead of bothering me, it motivates me to give my best, that´s why I hit so easily, “the outfielder explained, who said he was satisfied to please the audience with his homers.