Bellinger puts Home Run Derby myth to rest

We’ve been hearing it for decades: “Participating in the Home Run Derby ruins a batter’s swing.” And while there have certainly been instances where known sluggers went on to struggle after participating in the annual testosterone-filled exhibition that most baseball fans absolutely love, for the greater majority of the participants such a claim is what Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully would call “Horse fertilizer!”

Take this Cody Bellinger kid, for example.

Since being eliminated from the Home Run Derby in the second round by eventual winner Aaron Judge on Monday, Bellinger went 1-for-4 with a single in Friday’s second-half opener against the Miami Marlins in the exact ballpark where that 2017 Home Run Derby had taken place. “Only a single?” the naysayers might argue. But on Saturday evening, Cody Bellinger – the guy who some feared would have his beautiful Shawn Green-like left-handed swing ruined by his participation in the Home Run Derby – hit a two-out single to center field in the first inning, hit a two-out two-run home run to deep right field in the third inning, hit a two-out RBI double to right field in the fourth inning, and hit a leadoff triple to right-center field in the seventh inning.

If you connected the dots here, in only his second game back after participating in the mythical swing-ruining Home Run Derby a mere five days earlier, the just-turned 22-year-old Bellinger became only the ninth all-time Dodger, the third Los Angeles Dodger, and the only Dodger rookie to hit for the cycle.

“I knew I hit it well,” said Bellinger of his triple, the most difficult of the four. “I looked up, thought he was going to catch it. Then I saw him overrun it, and that’s when I thought I had a chance for it.”

Bellinger completed his cycle with this seventh-inning triple during Saturday night’s 7-1 rout of the Miami Marlins.
(Photo credit – Jon SooHoo)

Ironically, the “he” that Bellinger is speaking of is Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who also participated in Monday’s Home Run Derby and who was the defending champion and among the favorites to win it again in his home ballpark. He did not; nor did he field Bellinger’s line drive properly, thereby allowing the young Scottsdale, Arizona native and Dodgers 2013 fourth-round draft pick to slide safely into third base to complete one of baseball’s rarest feats.

 

Of the seven Brooklyn Dodgers to hit for the cycle, Babe Herman is the only one to have done it twice and did so in the same year (1931). The only Los Angeles Dodgers to hit for the cycle were Wes Parker on May 7, 1970 and Orlando Hudson on April 13, 2009.

“In this organization there is so much history,” Bellinger said. “To see my name on some of that is pretty humbling.”

So there you have it. If you still think the Home Run Derby ruins a batter’s swing, there’s only one thing left to say.

“Horse fertilizer!”

 

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9 Responses to “Bellinger puts Home Run Derby myth to rest”

  1. Bluenose Dodger says:

    For me bigger than the cycle was three two-out hits. Dang Home Run Derby anyway.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      Seriously? That was bigger than the cycle for you?

      What slipped completely under the radar for me (until Eric Stephen posted it on Twitter) was the fact that this was Belly’s first four-hit game. I had thought for sure he had already done that … too. He would have joined Yasmani Grandal as the only other Dodger with five hits in a game this season had he not hit that mile-high pop-up to second base that nearly hit the roof at Marlins Park.

      • Bluenose Dodger says:

        Seriously, I am not so much into those record setting things although the cycle is definitely a good one. I look at the two-out hits as so important in winning games. Perhaps I should have said more important rather than bigger. Without two-out hits he had no cycle.

        • Ron Cervenka says:

          I get the two-out hit thing, but the Dodgers do that almost every game. There have been only nine Dodgers in its 134-year history to hit for the cycle … NINE.

          Although we will (probably) never live to see it happen, Cody Bellinger will one day be in the Hall of Fame.

          • CruzinBlue says:

            You, of all people, Ron, know the detriment involved when evoking the baseball gods to wrath. Bellinger is about to finish his third month in the majors and you’ve gone all “Hall of Fame” on us!

            The horror! 🙂

  2. CruzinBlue says:

    Cody Bellinger has effectively, distinctively, and succinctly, laid this swing-ruining Home Run Derby fertilizer to rest. In fact, I’m here to propose quite the opposite; that perhaps this whole Home Run Derby / All Star experience may have re-awakened Bellinger’s swing in kick-starting his second half. Stay tuned…

    • Respect the Rivalry says:

      Your second point could point could make some sense. During Cody’s slump he seemed to be getting pitched down and in a lot. During his time-out in the first HRD round the broadcaster said that he asked Clay to pitch them down and in. Could it be that he decided to use the HRD to work on that pitch?

  3. Respect the Rivalry says:

    Do you really think that narrative is laid to rest? It should be, but many like it too much to give it up. For example, one we’re all too familiar with:
    For two years the silly narrative about the 2015 HRD messing up Joc Pederson’s swing has persisted. Here are some facts: For the month before the HRD (June 13-July 12) Joc’s slash line was .196/.328/.351. His OPS was .678. The month before that (May 13-June 12): .238/.339/.524/.863. Before that, to the beginning of the season: .255/.422/.582/1.004
    After the HRD, for the rest of the season: .178/.317/.300/.617
    This was a steady decline, starting long before the HRD, not a sudden drop off after the HRD.
    Nothing here that hasn’t been said many times before, yet the narrative persists. We’ll be reading it again next year.

  4. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I always wondered why when I heard the Dodgers had hit for 7 cycles in Brooklyn, I only saw 6 names. Thanks Ron for pointing out that Herman hit two.
    Congratulation to Cody Bellinger for joining the club.

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