July 6, 2022

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MLB unveils Home Run Derby X competition

3 min read

Los Angeles won’t be the only city to host a home run derby in 2022.

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced the launch of MLB Home Run Derby X, a global baseball tour making stops in London, Seoul and Mexico City and featuring former stars Adrian Gonzalez, Jonny Gomes, Geovany Soto and Nick Swisher.

Gonzalez will represent the Los Angeles Dodgers, Gomes the Boston Red Sox, Soto the Chicago Cubs and Swisher the New York Yankees. The four teams representing MLB’s oldest franchises will compete July 9 in London at Crystal Palace Park, Sept. 17 in Seoul and Oct. 15 in Mexico City in venues to be announced later.

The competition will take place on a “reduced version of a baseball field” with a home plate mounted on a stage and a pitcher’s mound on a podium, with a field of play designed to fit within a range of environments from festival sites to stadiums.

“Inspired by the success and simplicity of the Home Run Derby the day before the MLB All-Star Game, Home Run Derby X has been developed with the goal of attracting a new audience to baseball; creating high-energy live event experiences and opportunities for digital storytelling,” MLB said in a statement.

Hitters will get to swing at 25 pitches and take up to 10 of them, with the opportunity to earn points by hitting targets placed 160 feet from home plate and two beyond the outfield fences, similar to the mini games in the legendary video game MVP Baseball 2005. Opposition will have players in the outfield and can earn points by catching baseballs that don’t make it over the fence.

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Teams will receive a point for every home run, target hit or catch, while players can call for a hot streak that will allow teams to double their points on the next five pitches.

Each event will feature a winner, and the tour will culminate in a knockout tournament to determine the Home Run Derby X Tour Champions at the final event.

Every team will feature players from four categories, including the MLB legends, superstars who hail from the world of softball and women’s baseball, a rookie from the men’s baseball development system, and wild cards who are “influential content creators.”

The Dodgers have Gonzalez, Ashton Lansdell as a superstar and Yoongy Kwak as a wild card. The Red Sox will feature Gomes, Paige Halstead as their superstar and Liv Cooke as their wild card. The Cubs will feature Soto, Alex Hugo as their superstar and Spencer Owen as their wild card, while the Yankees boast Swisher, Erika Piancastelli as a superstar, Stefania Aradillas as a superstar in Mexico only and Daniel Corral as a wild card.

The group of rookies will be announced at a later date.

Soto, who last played in 2017, said he was excited to show his playing ability to his children.

“The Chicago Cubs signed me at 18 years old, so to get another opportunity to put that jersey back on and be a part of Home Run Derby X is an honor and a privilege,” he said. “I can’t wait for my kids to see me swing the bat and hit home runs.”

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