Watch Billy Crystal Mimic Classic Home Run Calls in ESPN's Home Run Derby Opener (Exclusive Video)

The Derby is back after a year off

The Home Run Derby, like all the All-Star Game itself, is back after a year off due to last year’s sliver of a season held during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crystal uses the intro as a way to show that, the All-Star Game’s return (with crowds) is symbolic of the country coming back itself (even though the pandemic is still very much ongoing and the Delta variant threatens to undo much of the progress made this year).

“We’ve been cooped for so long,” Crystal says, “what could be better than watching a few hundred baseballs launched into orbit to show we’re finally rounding the bases ourselves?”

The Home Run Derby is headlined by Los Angeles Angels pitcher (yes, pitcher) Shohei Ohtani, who will attempt to dethrone the reigning Derby champ, Pete Alonso of the New York Mets. Other participants include Juan Soto (Washington Nationals), Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers), Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies, who are hosting the event after MLB moved it away from Atlanta), Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals), Matt Olsen (Oakland Athletics), Trey Mancini (Baltimore Orioles).

The 2021 Home Run Derby will begin on 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ESPN

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