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Little League outfielders weren’t the only ones dropping the ball during Monday night’s MLB Home Run Derby.
As it turns out, both ESPN – who televised the event – and MLB officials scoring the contest, incorrectly kept track of the Derby. The broadcast and MLB miscounted a number of crucial swings from the bat that effected not only the Derby results, but also the pockets of plenty watching from home with skin in the game.
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And they did it more than once.
First, when veteran Albert Pujols and Kyle Schwarber were battling against each other in the bracketed format, Pujols was awarded a 20 home runs to 19 home runs victory over Schwarber. But it was quickly revealed that a Schwarber home run – what would’ve been number 18 – was not counted. The score should’ve been tied, sending Pujols and Schwarber to a sudden death overtime. But that wasn’t the case, and Pujols advanced, allowing plenty of sportsbooks to cash in (Schwarber was one of the betting favorites to win the event, but eliminated in the first round).
A similar situation occurred in the finals where the Nationals’ Juan Soto eventually walked away with the Derby crown after besting Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez. As Soto was continuing to swing for the fences, he was doing so illegally – by Home Run Derby standards.
The rules state that pitchers must wait to throw until the previous hit ball has landed, but this was ignored multiple times during Soto’s Derby winning at-bat. Soto continued to plow through, racking up 19 dingers – many of which took place after the home plate umpire could be seen holding his hand up, urging the pitcher to “stop”- while Rodriguez finished with one less.
MLB HOME RUN DERBY 2022: JUAN SOTO EDGES JULIO RODRIGUEZ FOR CROWN
A one home run difference may seem insignificant to some, but consider the fact that FanDuel Sportsbook listed the winner, Soto as having +650 odds to claim the trophy, while Rodriguez was +850. That’s a significant difference in payout.
And bettors were the ones feeling the pain.
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