The Home Run Derby may be receiving a major makeover as far as format this year, but there will be at least one familiar aspect: Albert Pujols. Via theScore,
Pujols, who will appear in his 10th career All-Star Game after a four-year absence from the event, confirmed Tuesday he will participate in the derby for the fourth time since his 2001 debut.
“They want me to do it, so why not?” said Pujols, who will have Angels bench coach Dino Ebel throw to him. “I’m going to give it one last chance.”
“I enjoy it every time I do it because I take it like batting practice,” Pujols said. “I know I have to hit the ball out of the ballpark, but to me, it’s like regular batting practice — except you have 50,000 people watching you, and you don’t have a cage.”
When asked last month about potentially participating in the event, Pujols said he “think(s) it would be the last one.” On Tuesday, though, the three-time MVP applauded the decision to implement timed rounds for this year’s event, a decision that should lead to “less standing around.”
They say most veterans are afraid of change in the game of baseball, but Pujols, for one, doesn’t seem to mind the differences in this year’s Derby.
Timed rounds may be tough to get used to at first, but will certainly lead to a more entertaining product; plus, having a familiar face like Pujols will help ease the transition for those expecting the Derby of yesteryear.
At 35 its doubtful he’ll be able to last as long as some of the younger contestants, but who knows, we’ve been surprised before.
For those interested – Here are the full rule changes for this years Home Run Derby.
2015 Gillette HR Derby presented by Head & Shoulders introduces new format, featuring brackets & timed rounds. pic.twitter.com/e3sFa1qxBp
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) June 28, 2015