Stop Playing ‘Victim’

All too often, I see people continue to blame their problems on the world or another external factor. Some of them even have the audacity to think that the world owes them something after the world comes crumbling down on them.

Well, let me be the first to tell you, and hopefully I’m not the first to tell you, that the world owes you nothing. You make or break under your own willpower. Instead of incessantly complaining, “Why me?”, you should be asking yourself, “What can I do to make this situation better? To pick myself up off the ground?”

Those who complain are the ones who keep playing “victim.”  Because they feel uncomfortable with their own anger, they become trapped in a victimized orientation toward life. People who become mired down in feeling victimized tend to view events in their lives as happening to them and feel ineffective and overwhelmed. They also operate on the basic assumption that the world should be fair, which is a child’s way of thinking.

There have been several times in my life where I could’ve just sat there, angry at the world for what it had done to me, given me, and left me in a position leaving me to feel vulnerable. And I’ll admit that there have been a couple times where I’m guilty of doing this.

But if I hadn’t picked myself up off the ground after situations where life had dealt me a bad hand, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today, nor would I be the person I am today.

One of my favorite lyrics is from Shinedown’s “Sound of Madness,” and it goes, “I created the sound of madness / Wrote the book on pain / Somehow I’m still here to explain / That the darkest hour never comes in the night / You can sleep with a gun / When you gonna wake up and fight?” I feel that the song really resonates with me because I know the whole “I’ve been there” mentality, but I will never understand other peoples’ situations no matter how hard I try to put myself in their shoes.

Nothing will ever be right and life will never be perfect. But if you want to live what you would consider a “perfect life,” it’ll never be easy.

I realize that there are some individuals that feel that nobody understands their situation and that they have no hope. Let me tell you, there is always hope, but it’s up to the individual to find the determination to seek their own definition of a “perfect life.”

Stay strong and never, ever give up.



First off, I want to extend a massive congratulations to the city of Philadelphia and the Eagles organization on winning their first Lombardi trophy Sunday night. It was a long time coming, but they finally were able to take home their first Super Bowl win since… well, before the Super Bowl even existed.

Nobody can argue that both offenses did a miraculous job last night, making for historical numbers in combined total yardage. However, it all came down to who could torch the opposing defense, especially on third down where it all mattered.

The Eagles offense ran their RPO offense like I had never seen before. They were stellar. Whenever faced with a third down, they continued to come up big. Donnie Jones only had to punt once.

On the other side, the Patriots offense was running like they had all season. The big plays happened but it just wasn’t enough. In the end, the offensive line got tired and overwhelmed by the pass rush which caused Tom Brady to lose a fumble on an attempt to throw.

The better team won. What else is there to say?

But what does this mean for the Patriots now? They made so many big moves in the offseason and only some actually paid off. The addition of Brandin Cooks was by far one of the greatest transactions they could’ve made for the franchise. A deep threat receiver who made it a nightmare for defensive backs to cover. Losing him impacted the team’s performance significantly Sunday night.

And I will never understand why Malcolm Butler didn’t start on defense. Whatever the coaching decision was there, I feel that they’ll be reflecting on that for a long time. One thing that is for certain, you will never see him play another down for the Patriots ever again.

As for Tom Brady, he’ll have to wait for his next shot at history-making until next season. People can’t continue to argue that he isn’t the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football. He’s already proven that. He didn’t choke last night; he put up some of the best numbers by a losing quarterback in a Super Bowl. The postseason is where he shines the most, but his performance was not a determining factor in the final decision Sunday night.

I’m happy to see an organization like Philadelphia, who’s waited practically a lifetime to see their beloved team win their first significant championship since the AFL-NFL merger. That’s my sports-fan persona talking.

As for my diehard-Patriots-fan persona, I know this isn’t the end. Far from it. Knowing how much the organization has built up since the dawn of the millennium and how much they’ve already accomplished, everybody knows that they’ll be back and with a vengeance. A loss like this on such a grand stage will loom over Tom Brady’s head and the entire franchise like a storm cloud. The coaches and players will be picking apart every little thing in order to get back to the same place they were this season.

Every team needs improving, including the “evil empire” that is the New England Patriots.

Ever since the postseason began, the Patriots started a social media the social media hashtag “#NotDone” to show that there’s still more on their plate and that there’s a job that still needs to be done. I didn’t think that this was the right one to use. If you’re a team in the NFL, the goal isn’t to win just one championship; it’s to win several and to cement your legacy as one of the stoic franchises that football has ever seen. While the Patriots have already done this, their job is far from over.

They might be down and out right now, but the Patriots are #NeverDone.

We’ll be back…

A New Face of New York?

On November 29th, it was reported that multiple sports figures had received write-in votes in New York City’s 2017 Mayoral Election. New York Knicks star center Kristaps Porzingis received the most votes with eleven. Coming up short was the American League Rookie of the Year and Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge.

I guess it could be considered an honor, considering fellow Yankees greats Derek Jeter, Joe Torre, and Joe Girardi also received write-ins.

Now originally, I was going to write this solely on what postseason improvements and further developments Judge could make to his game. Obviously, hitting more home runs is still of utmost importance, but learning how to clobber something other than an off-speed pitch should be at the top of his list. The media flashed in our faces every single day how much his strikeout amount was turning more heads than his home run total. If you’re a Yankee fan like me, you got pretty tired of it.

But since then, a lot has happened in New York.

After Joe Girardi was dropped as manager, another Yankees alum stepped in to take over; one that I thought would be the most unlikely candidate given the many options and directions the front office could’ve gone with.

Aaron Boone surely does have a place in Yankees history, famously known for doing this to the rivaled Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

Just when you thought the New York-Boston rivalry couldn’t get any better… oh, it grew substantially.

There are a lot of concerns, however, with him having no experience at a coaching position. Especially as the manager of the New York Yankees, a job that comes with a lot of pressure.

But as long as he has the right guidance, he’ll know exactly what lies ahead for him in the coming season. There’s a lot to prove. Can he handle it?

Shouldn’t be a problem, considering the early Christmas gift the Yankees got from all-time great, Derek Jeter. As the new co-owner of the Miami Marlins, Jeter has been cleaning house and being scrutinized for doing so. Why? Because he sent his former team one of the best sluggers in the game.

National League MVP and league-home-run leader Giancarlo Stanton is now a New York Yankee. What does this mean?

It means that the Yankees have been gifted an unfair advantage over the rest of the American League. It means that the Yankees are still the evil empire of baseball. It means that the Yankees are still one of the most hated franchises in all of sports.

And it’s incredibly satisfying.

Feliz Navidadd!!🎊🎄😂

A post shared by Giancarlo Stanton (@giancarlo818) on

Now there’s many faces of New York sports. Maybe one too many. Will Judge become overshadowed by Giancarlo’s bat and presence or will he learn from one of the best hitters to ever step up to the plate?

I assume it’s going to be a tag team of sorts with Gary Sanchez also thrown into the mix, tattooing balls all over the park.

While I’m still in full-fledge football mode, baseball season is right around the corner and now I’m even more excited than I already was.

Injuries Are Killing Football

This 2017 NFL season sucks.

I won’t lie, it has been interesting thus far, especially with the Rams and Jaguars being some of the league’s best right now,… but it still sucks.

Devastating, season-ending injuries have taken some of the best talent that we’ve seen over the past couple years. We get extremely excited to watch these players demonstrate these abilities and then watch all their season’s potential fall. While it’s painful for us to handle, I can’t imagine the grief that these stricken players go through.

For me, it all started when Julian Edelman was carted off to the locker room during a preseason game against the Lions. Hours later, it was revealed that he had suffered a non-contact ACL tear. All New England fans alike were heartbroken, especially after the amazing season he and his team just had.

A post shared by Julian Edelman (@edelman11) on

Many wondered what would become of the Patriots and Tom Brady without one of their main weapons on offense. We chose to bite through the pain and keep moving forward. So far, the season has been very shaky for the Patriots, but it can only get better… hopefully.

But then the list of extremely talented, seriously injured players continued to grow from there. Now in Week Nine, the names are staggering:

QBs: Ryan Tannehill, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, Carson Palmer
RBs: David Johnson, Dalvin Cook, Spencer Ware
WRs: Julian Edelman, O’Dell Beckham Jr., Allen Robinson
TEs: Greg Olsen
OTs: Joe Thomas, Jason Peters, Zach Strief, Joe Staley
OGs: Marshal Yanda, Mike Iupati
Cs: Ryan Kalil
DLs: JJ Watt, Stephon Tuitt, Solomon Thomas, Cliff Avril, Sharrif Floyd
LBs: Dont’a Hightower, Whiney Mercilus, Tamba Hali
DBs: Stephon Gilmore, Jason Verrett, Eric Berry, Malik Hooker
Ks: Dan Bailey

Looking at it from a glance, the list is compiled of names who’ve been decorated in the game of football. Major awards, conference standouts, Pro Bowlers, etc.

Personally, it killed me the most when David Johnson went down Week One because I picked him first overall in fantasy. My team hasn’t been the same ever since.

I think the worst it came to was this week when Deshaun Watson went down with an non-contact ACL tear in practice, just a day after the Astros won their first ever World Series. What a heartbreak for the city of Houston who had come off a major hurricane and had already lost their hero JJ Watt earlier in the year.

Watson is a rising star and his 19 touchdown passes lead the league – an impressive stat for a rookie that didn’t even start the season opener. He was well on his way to earning Rookie of the Year and the unfortunate injury halted that campaign.

Stay tuned… ⏱ 1/2

A post shared by Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) on

I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish next season.

But with all the injuries at the quarterback position, Colin Kaepernick still has not been contacted for a job, but that’s not the issue at hand.

The injuries might’ve done something to the “wow” factor of the game and the reason why we all tune in every Sunday in the fall. But it has done something to the postseason. Imagine what the playoffs will be like now; the NFC North is anybody’s without Aaron Rodgers and the Packers taking it every year, the Rams and Jaguars may get their first taste of playoffs in a while, and we’ll get to see if Tom Brady can pull it off again (I’m secretly hoping this happens).

Takeaways from a “Breakout” 2017 Yankees Season

The 162-game season that Major League Baseball brings to us every year is a lot to follow sometimes. But coming off an extraordinary season where a 108-year curse was broken, the 2017 season was destined to be, in my opinion, one of the most highly-anticipated years of baseball.

Why? Because after last November, when the Cubs took Game 7 of the World Series and brought a championship trophy back to Chicago for the first time since 1908, you truly realize that baseball is a sport where absolutely anything could happen.

But for one team, this season wasn’t supposed to be the most exciting, especially since campaigns in the past couple years didn’t exactly match up to par. Incumbent New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi went into this season as a “lame duck,” meaning that if his team didn’t produce, he’d be getting the pink slip of disapproval at the end of the year.

And here we are now; throughout chipped teeth, thumbs-down hand signals, and fans being struck by foul balls, the Yankees made it further into the postseason than anybody could have possibly predicted. Among all the talks that this would be a rebuilding year and that they wouldn’t win more than 80 games, they laid all the speculations to rest and made this their season.

For most of us Yankee fans, it all ended abruptly when, in Game Seven of the ALCS, we watched the Astros offense tear up the field like they have all season. Most, if not, all of us, went to bed feeling defeated. I myself went up to bed early before the game even ended, partly because I couldn’t stand to watch anymore and mostly because I had a rugby game the next day.

We showed such promise in the previous postseason games leading up to that and to have it all come to a close the way that it did, it was heartbreaking. The name of the game for the American League postseason was “home field advantage.” If you played at home, the chances of you winning were extremely high. The Yankees won each one of their home games during the postseason, but so did the Astros. When an entire city that has recently come off a tragedy is rallying behind their team, you can’t be surprised when they take the whole enchilada.

And yet, people will still hate the Yankees, no matter who’s on the team. Young faces, old faces, you name it. The Baby Bombers will still get the hate that their predecessors have dealt with for years. Just ask a disgruntled Barstool Sports employee.

Hate to say it, but he’s right. Having the highest payroll and the most tenured history out of anyone in the game of baseball won’t make you the most popular team among nationwide fans. The Yankees have always been good, even dominant. It’s the progression and development of opposing organizations that have caused New York to fall behind and catch up.

The end of the season brought along high hopes though. For one, both Girardi and GM Brian Cashman have both been extended invitations to stick around for next year, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t (update as of 10/26: Girardi announced that he wouldn’t be returning as the team’s manager after 10 years at the helm). As for overall team and player gameplay, many things need to be addressed and dealt with before the team can come anywhere near where they left off.


The bats were hot, and then they were cold, and then they were hot again; a frequent trend of this season. The highs and lows of the offense showed us that there’s more to come from a lineup that definitely has a lot of building room for next season.

Aaron Judge made our hopes for this year strong when he when on a home run rampage, hitting tape-measure-worthy moonshots that left his teammates, fans and opponents with their jaws on the ground. He proved he was no joke in the Home Run Derby in July, but afterwards, things went on the decline. He kept striking out, finishing games with no hits and leaving the batter’s box frustrated. When you’re that age and you create a media frenzy on yourself, everyone’s out to criticize you. Sports media outlets continued to keep track of how many consecutive games Judge would strikeout and how far his average was dipping below .300. But you’ve got to hand it to him: no matter how many times he came up short in an at-bat, he didn’t argue with the umpire and moved on to the next one. Around the end of the season, he started to pick back up and had a couple big-time home runs for the team during the postseason. He even broke the rookie record for most dingers in a single season. What he needs to work on for next season is consistency, because that’s what would’ve landed him the AL MVP trophy. The Rookie of the Year award will certainly do.

(Sir) Didi Gregorius became an unlikely household name. The Yankees will never, ever (in my opinion) find a more prolific, franchise shortstop whose name is not Derek Jeter. For Didi to take up this role in the fashion that he did with all the love and enthusiasm he has for both the game and his players, it’s what us fans love to see. He led the team in batting average and was third on the team in home runs… may I remind you he’s a shortstop? Having his attitude and energy in the clubhouse certainly boosted everyone’s morale. Having his ability at the plate was an added bonus. Those two home runs in Game Five of the ALDS were a nice touch, too. I hope to see him do even greater things in 2018.

Gary Sanchez was yet another Baby Bomber that showed what fierce bat could do for a powerful offense. There’s just one thing that needs to be worked on for next season: plate defensiveness. There were too many passed balls and wild pitches that made for costly mistakes. Although he is young, proving yourself as a well-rounded catcher early on will go a long way. In the offseason, I know for a fact that he’ll be taking a lot of bumps and bruises trying to block pitches from going to the backstop. He has a wide base that should be used to his advantage, and the organization will be pleased once they see the improvements he’s made come time for pitchers and catchers to report for spring training.

Baseball is not easy. Its a physically and mentally challenging sport. Criticism, whether constructive or otherwise, does not phase me. I welcome it because at the end of the day most of it comes with love and the desire to help me be better. And you know what? Nobody, nobody expects more from me than me. So I take it all in and just smile because I am blessed. Have a great day. #iamgary #elgary // El béisbol no es fácil. Es un deporte que te reta física y mentalmente. Las criticas, sean constructivas u otras, no me molestan. Las invito porque al final del día la mayoría vienen con amor y el deseo de ayudarme. Y saben qué? Nadie, nadie espera mas de mi que yo mismo. Por eso lo tomo todo tranquilo y con una sonrisa. Buen día.

A post shared by Gary Sanchez (@elgarysanchez) on

All around the offense was poised for a phenomenal year, and it looks like 2018 will be the same story, but hopefully with something bigger in the fall.


Without run support, your pitcher is going to have a terrible time. That’s why when the bats are hot, the more the ace is going to feel composed up on the mound, but the rest of the team around you is going to hold you accountable to keep the momentum rolling. But as much as the defense can’t rely on the offense to get the job done, the same can be said vice versa. Perfect example: Brett Gardner’s two-RBI single in Game Five of the ALDS saved us from facing total playoff elimination after Sabathia hit the wall in the fifth inning.

The Yankees rotation this year was shaky, up-and-down, sometimes inconsistent, synonyms… to a point where we questioned whether we could survive in the playoffs behind the starters we put out there. Even acquiring Sonny Gray didn’t exactly help either. Am I the only one who felt it was agonizing to watch opposing runs being given up in the first inning or earlier?

It all came down to the bullpen, which was one of the best in baseball. Acquiring Tommy Kahnle and bringing back David Robertson at the deadline proved to be beneficial to how the team decided to round out regular season play. Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman could only do so much, so the extra heat was extremely necessary. Plus, I only had so much faith in Chapman after blowing a couple saves that I wasn’t sure having him as our main closer would help us in October.

Luis Severino: a fiery inferno on the mound. Masahiro Tanaka: a lit match that burns out after a while. I’ve said before that Severino could have been a dark horse in the AL Cy Young nominations if not for Chris Sale and Corey Kluber. I’ve also said before that Masahiro Tanaka is the most inconsistent, international pitcher that the Yankees have seen in a while. Both statements are opinions. The stats are there to form your own.

We may also have seen the end of CC Sabathia’s career in pinstripes. This being the final year in his contract, his future is uncertain. He told the New York Post that New York is where he wants to be, but whether the front office wants to negotiate a new contract remains to be seen. If this is the last time that we see him take the mound for the Yankees, then it’s been a hell of a career. He’ll go down in history as one of the best lefties to ever play the game of baseball.


Now I can’t wait for 2018. I’ll stick with football for now up until the last second of the Super Bowl, but baseball has continued to blossom its excitement factor. Fans young and old are falling in love all over again with the new, young faces of the game that have been plastered all over sports media outlets, front pages of magazines and newspapers and the posters that hang overhead of a child’s bed. The World Series may still be well underway, but us Yankees fans are definitely looking forward to the future.

I Auditioned for American Idol, and Here’s How it Went…

So this past Sunday, I decided to make the seven-hour journey to Pittsburgh, PA to audition for ABC’s revival of American Idol.

There’s not a lot of people who knew I was going to audition because I felt that the pressure would build on me more if almost everybody knew. So I kept it on the down-low for quite some time. Keep in mind, I’ve always been extremely self-conscious about my ability to sing. I’ve always gotten embarrassed and red in the face to a point where singing in public was the one thing that terrifies me more than anything.

I stayed overnight in a hotel, alone, where the only company I had was college football’s kickoff weekend. Why did I go alone? Because it was just something that I felt that I needed to do by myself, with no one’s help or on-the-spot moral support. I’ve always done a lot of things alone, so this was another one of those things that I wanted to take on myself. I still had many texts and direct messages coming my way the day before and of the audition wishing me luck, so thank you to those of you who sent them. I greatly appreciate it.

The auditions took place at Bakery Square within the city in an open field outside of an apartment complex. The American Idol bus was way out in the open and you could see the masses of people already lined up by time I got there at around 7:15.

The men who worked security asked only those who were auditioning to be in line. Friends and family would have to wait on the side. Many mothers were holding up signs saying things like “My daughter is the next American Idol” and putting on a huge scene for their children.

Security organized us into groups of four to be brought in front of producers to audition. The show works very differently than how you think; producers are the ones to listen to you first and then grant you permission to go in front of the celebrity judges depending on how well you perform. They would never let Katy Perry and Ryan Seacrest sit through all 700 people that day.

While in line, others were practicing their song and group singing together for the news cameras that were on the scene. They also talked up a big game too.

“I was the lead in my school play all four years.”

“My vocal teacher has been preparing me for this for months.”

“If I don’t get a ticket to go in front of the judges, I will be furious.”

Me? I refused to join in. I was trying to find the perfect zone and composure so that I could go up and blow the producer away. I continued to see those who were talking a big game and had such high hopes walk away declined and in tears, so I knew that this was about to be one of the scariest moments of my life.

My mind was racing about what song I should choose to sing; I think I changed it three times that morning before I went in front of the producer. I made the final decision almost at the last second before it was my turn and I went with this song.

No change to it from here on out.

My group finally made it in front of the producer who had a very heavy British accent. He asked for all of our paperwork (the “What is Your Story?” form and the release form) before we started. I was the second person to go and I messed up within the first 10 seconds. Thankfully, he allowed me start over. I cruised through my allowed 90 seconds of singing with my voice a bit shaky towards the end, but afterwards, I felt that I did pretty well for myself. I think that was the most heart I’ve ever put into singing ever.

After all of our group was finished, he looked over our story forms one more time and called us up to the table. He told us altogether that this was going to be the most competitive season and that, unfortunately, it was a “no” for today. He reassured us, however, that we all had excellent voices and that he’d love to hear us sing in the future.

This gave me such relief because, to be honest, he genuinely didn’t sound like a complete, pompous dick about it. Either that, or he was giving us the same plastic response he gave to everyone else he said “no” to that morning.

I walked away from the audition noticing the line going down the block and a small tent set up off in the corner of the field where people who earned a ticket to go in front of the judges were waiting. Out of the 700 people that were there that day, only six or eight people were under that tent.

It’s understandable because it’s television; they’re looking for the people who will make for interesting, watchable content. They were also probably looking for people for us all to laugh at on social media. I guess that’s just the way the show works. There’s a lot more that goes on “behind the scenes” than we’re actually aware of.

I would’ve liked a different answer that day, but so would a lot of the other people who were turned away. I drove the entire seven hours back still singing, knowing that I have a good voice and that this audition changed nothing about how I perceived my ability to sing.

After miles of seeing nothing but Amish cornfields and occasional, unexpected sightings of strip clubs and adult video stores, I can honestly say that this was a very eye-opening trip for me. It showed me that I was way too shy about it and that it’s nothing that I should be ashamed of. It was an enormous ball-buster for me.

Plus, I got to pass by “Happy Valley” where Penn State plays football on the ride back and it is friggin’ huge.

beaver stadium

Imagine seeing that thing off the side of the highway. I mean, just look at it.

If You Weren’t Aware, That Home Run Derby Was Hype

I may have lost a follower or two with my incessant rambling and allotment of tweets, but that Home Run Derby was probably the most exciting thing I’ve seen this month and I couldn’t help but be expressive.

This was the most anticipated Home Run Derby since 1999, when Mark McGwire cracked moonshots over the Green Monster, across Lansdowne Street and on to the Mass Pike. Names like the Fenway favorite Nomar, Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa, and Larry Walker were also included in the star-studded event. Not to mention the man with the sweetest swing in the game ever won the event in Boston that year, Ken Griffey Jr.

Everything leading up to this event spelled perfection: two rookies, Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, are numbers one and two respectively on the home run list with both emerging to be top contenders for the MVP at the end of the year. It’s unheard of for a rookie win the award and as the season goes on, they continue to improve and make their claim for the title.

Giancarlo Stanton, last year’s champion, had to defend his crown on his home turf at Marlins Park. The seasoned veteran and slugger was placed in a field of young stars and had to compete with them. People doubted whether or not he could, not because of the rookies hitting home runs, but the fact that today’s generation of MLB players is younger, faster, stronger, and more groomed to take the league by storm in the next couple years.

But every round last night displayed and drew some level of interest one way or another. Every contestant had a great opportunity to try and win and advance further thanks to the new rules of the Derby.

First Round: 4 Mike Moustakas vs. 5 Miguel Sano

I remember watching a documentary years ago about Sano in my 11th grade Spanish class. The Twins’ third baseman is from the Dominican Republic and the documentary was about how strict signing and recruiting for baseball players in Central and South American countries is.

Ballplayer: Pelotero, narrated by John Leguizamo, followed the lives of two Dominican baseball prospects, one being Sano. Sano faced issues when the league suspected him of lying about his age. He had the look of a 20 year old and wrote that he was 16. Usually, players in southern countries are signed to a maximum $5 million contract by the age of 16. The league went on a witch hunt, doing various, intense background checks to find documentation that he was who he said he was. The league ended the investigation finding nothing.

So I was very surprised that he was there. It was amazing to see how far he had come, rising up the ranks in the Twins’ organization and the entire league in general.

By the end of the round, Royals’ Mike Moustakas was so close to taking the win. Sano had put up 11 home runs to start off, leaving Moustakas to try and beat it. He came within one home run of tying it in the last thirty seconds and couldn’t hit one that could find its way over the fence. He choked, plain and simple.

First Round: 1 Giancarlo Stanton vs. 8 Gary Sanchez

Sanchez took the plate first to blast 17 home runs, shocking considering he was facing last year’s event’s champion.

Stanton didn’t look in form, however, come time for him to start hitting. Within the first minute and a half, he only had four home runs. You’d think he’d find a zone with this being his event. He took his timeout very early to regain his composure. It seemed to help out because he started clobbering ball after ball (five in a row at one point) to come within two home runs of tying Sanchez. Some of them were the longest of the night before Judge came up.

Unfortunately, Stanton couldn’t outmatch him. The champ had been dethroned by the Baby Bomber, El Kraken. Many thought it would come between Judge and Stanton, the matchup everybody was waiting for. But it was Judge’s young, teammate to take him down. Who woulda thought? I guess it’s possible for an eight seed to take down a number one seed.

Also, is Logan Morrison still talking now or? No? That’s what I thought.

First Round: 3 Cody Bellinger vs. 6 Charlie Blackmon

This season, the Rockies have had a breakout season behind surprising breakout star, Charlie Blackmon, who brought himself into the top-10 list for league home runs. He hit a strong 14 homers in his first round matchup before Bellinger was able to take his swings.

Bellinger was looking to cruise right past him until the very end of the round; he had only hit one 440 foot home run and needed another one to get the 30 second bonus time. Sure enough, he got it with one second left on the clock. With the best luck in the world, the young Dodgers rookie then had an easy time hitting a couple more to beat Blackmon.

First Round: 2 Aaron Judge vs. 7 Justin Bour

Aaron Judge had been hyped up all throughout the media coverage. During batting practice, the All-Star nominees took to the field to shag fly balls and watched as Judge left them speechless. He even hit the ceiling at one point.


But Justin Bour? 1. I had no idea he could hit. 2. He gave Judge a run for his money.

Bour hit 22 home runs in his first round swings, the most of any participant up until that point. During his timeout, his teammate and fellow participant Stanton supplied him with a doughnut, you know, for a little extra sugar-intensified energy. Then he still continued to lash out.

As a Yankee fan, I was worried; Judge had some competition and a high bar to reach. Thank god he loves competition. 23 home runs looked effortless to him, and the fact that some went over 500 feet was an added bonus.

Semifinals: 8 Gary Sanchez vs. 5 Miguel Sano

The way Sanchez was hitting in the first round failed to translate over to his semifinal bout against Sano. He only managed 10 home runs, making it easy for Sano to take the round and advance to the finals.

It was a valiant effort and would’ve been interesting to see Judge against his fellow Baby Bomber teammate, but alas we were denied such a fantasy.

Semifinals: 3 Cody Bellinger vs. 2 Aaron Judge

Everyone wanted to see this matchup as well. Both Judge and Bellinger are arguably the best rookies the game of baseball has seen in the past couple years. Both are in contention for MVP, an accomplishment unheard of for a rookie to reach. Here they are now, leading both their teams in major offensive statistical categories and leading the league in home runs. They’re performing better than some of the seasoned veterans today. So it surely made for an interesting competition.

After Bellinger set the margin at 12 home runs, he was put on the panel alongside Mark Teixeira and Tim Kurkjian to commentate while Judge tried to surpass him. This was how ESPN wanted to happen: Judge beat him, but the station wanted to let the audience at home watch and hear Bellinger react to losing. Storybook set of events.

Championship: 5 Miguel Sano vs. 2 Aaron Judge

This was it, the big moment everyone around baseball was waiting for: Judge competing to be crowned the Home Run Derby Champion. The people in the stands were booing him in the beginning during introductions only to watch in awe as he defied gravity with his custom-made, Miami-themed bat sending balls into orbit.

The one thing I noticed, however, was the pitcher throwing to Sano in the first half of the championship. Maybe his arm was getting tired, but he was throwing junk at him. Inside, outside, top of the strike zone… his pitches were going everywhere, giving Sano hardly anything to hit. That may have very well ruined his chances at putting up a good number for Judge to compete against.

Judge wanted him to hit more. He left the batting cage down in the depths of the dugout early to watch Sano and cheer him on. He wanted him to hit more. Like I said, he loves the sense of competition.

Big Cat from Barstool Sports was sitting in the left field stands and tweeted out during Judge’s final round that he had hit one to the ceiling where it bounced around in the rafters for a little bit, came down, and still went over the wall.

Like taking candy from a baby, Judge made it look easy and took the throne to become the first rookie ever to win the event.

This is what baseball is need of: young, bright, and exciting stars to bring in a new wave of sensational athleticism that even the least likely of baseball fans can get behind. I’ve said Aaron Judge’s name a lot in this post, but he’s one, if not, the leader in this smashing generation that will bring the game further into the future to compete in a tough American sports market dominated by football and basketball.

Baseball needs these young stars, and Monday night was simply a showcase for them to realize that.