One of the most entertaining parts of the MLB season took place on Monday with the Home Run Derby, and it didn’t disappoint with Vlad Guerrero, Jr. putting on one heck of a show. In the first round, he hit 29 home runs, a record. He would tie it in the semis, but so, too, would Joc Pederson, forcing a couple of tiebreakers that finally saw Guerrero move onto the finals. He would then face off with Pete Alonso in an all-rookie battle in that, representing a clash of styles between the loose and the very serious. It was the ultra serious Alonso that ended up winning out, capitalizing on Guerrero finally getting tired to hoist the trophy, by a score of 23-22 in the finals. With the victory, Alonso won $1 million- nearly double his annual rookie salary. He became the first New York Mets player since Darryl Strawberry in 1986 to take home at least a piece of the title.
Justin Verlander made some big headlines of his own in baseball circles on Monday when he stated that he believed MLB had intentionally altered the ball in order to increase offense. The 36 year-old Houston Astros pitcher, who has given up more home runs than any other pitcher this season with 26 served up, stated that the league’s acquisition of Rawlings came with the surge of home runs. He said that Commissioner Rob Manfred’s desired first objective was to find a way to increase scoring, and that it was too much to be a consequence that those factors have gone together. Manfred admits that homers are up and that the ball is different, but he refused to confess that the balls have indeed been changed.
After seeing Paul George leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for Los Angeles, it looks like Russell Westbrook is none too keen on staying put. The point guard, a former MVP, is said to be seeking an opportunity elsewhere, and apparently Miami is appealing to him. The Heat have recently brought in Jimmy Butler as a part of a four-team trade, so they don’t have a completely empty cupboard at the moment. Unfortunately, they don’t have a ton to bargain with, so it will be far from easy for them to pull off a deal. The New York Knicks are another team rumored to have interest, but we will have to wait and see if either or neither are actually trying to make a trade for the controversial superstar.
Coco Gauff, the 15 year old star that has risen at Wimbledon in the past week finally fell on Monday at the hands of Simona Halep, a former #1 player at the All England Club, in the fourth round of the tournament. She went down in straight sets, losing 6-3, 6-3, yet she hasn’t really lost all that much. She defeated three professional opponents, a remarkable achievement that shows just how much promise she brings to the table. In other tennis news, Serena Williams was fined by the club for taking it too rough in practice and damaging one of the courts. Over in the men’s side of the bracket, the big three of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, and Novak Djokovic rolled on, advancing to the quarterfinals. Federer only took an hour and 14 minutes to sweep aside his opponent.