Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies have been named captains for the 20th Gillette Home Run Derby, which will feature a new 10-player format that calls for seven outs per round and bracketed play after the first round.
Bautista and Tulowitzki are the top overall All-Star Game vote-getters so far in the American and National Leagues, respectively, and they also will now have the honor of determining which four sluggers join each of them in the event on July 14 at Target Field. It will be televised live at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and covered round-by-round by MLB.com.
Five players from each league will bat in the opening round, with seven outs instead of the usual 10. The player who hits the most homers in each league will automatically receive a bye to the third round (semifinals). The next two players from each league with the most homers will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round.
The winners of these matchups will advance to the third round to compete against the league's top seed. The final round will feature the winners of the AL and NL semifinals going head to head to see who succeeds Yoenis Cespedes of the A's as the 2014 champion. Cespedes entered this week with 14 homers, but will he be back to defend his title? That all remains to be seen.
Bautista and Tulowitzki will each determine the other four participants on their teams. and they will personally extend the invitations. Each of the captains will select a charity of their choice for which they will hit during the Derby. Bautista has 15 homers, and he will return to the event for a third time (also 2011 and '12). Will he choose Blue Jays teammate Edwin Encarnacion, who tops the Majors with 24 long balls? That would seem likely, but again, no one knows yet.
You can still have a say in determining the participants. The All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian also features the Gillette Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Select up to three candidates in each league, and the final results will be considered as the captains determine the field in consultation with MLB.
There is another important part of the captain duty. The Gillette Home Run Derby will again raise funds for MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as charities selected by the captains. More than $3 million has been raised for charity over the past 10 years, including an all-time high of $615,000 donated in 2012.
MLB.com Home Run Derby is a great way to get caught up in the action right now, with Target Field as the setting. Join millions who are playing this all-new game, which is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play. New for 2014 is Multiplayer Derby Mode, Arcade Mode and Single Player Derby Mode.
There were 10 participants when Dave Parker hit six homers in a single-round format to win the first Home Run Derby at Minnesota (Metrodome) in 1985, and there will be 10 again in the Twin Cities next month, but with a very different format. The last time there were 10 players in the Home Run Derby was 1999 in Boston.
Tulowitzki, who ranks second in the NL and is tied for sixth in the Majors with 18 homers, will be the ninth player in Rockies history to compete in the Derby (10th appearance overall). The 29-year-old will give the Rockies a competitor in the Derby for a third consecutive year, following the participation of his teammates Carlos Gonzalez in 2012 and Michael Cuddyer in '13. Tulowitzki will become just the seventh shortstop to take part in the event since its inception, joining Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. (1985, 1991-92), Hubie Brooks (1986), Nomar Garciaparra (1997, '99), Alex Rodriguez (1998, 2001-02), Miguel Tejada (2004, '06) and Hanley Ramirez (2010).
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally on July 15 by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.