Todd Frazier Wins 2015 Home Run Derby in Front of Hometown Fans

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In what was easily the highlight of the 2015 season for Cincinnati Reds fans, Todd Frazier took home the 2015 Home Run Derby crown in truly exhilarating manner in his home ballpark. In a revamped bracket format, Frazier went second in all three rounds of the Derby and came up with dramatic home run after dramatic home run, beating Prince Fielder, Josh Donaldson and Joc Pederson en route to his win.

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Let’s go through the night round by round.

Frazier, who was the No. 2 seed in the contest, was given a tough draw in the first round, facing off against a two-time Home Run Derby champion in Fielder. The Rangers first baseman didn’t make it easy for Frazier, crushing 13 home runs—including a 474-foot bomb—to give him what seemed like a sure first round victory.

But you can never count Frazier out.

With the Great American Ball Park crowd behind him chanting, “Let’s go Frazier,” he stepped up to match Fielder’s total in his allotted time of four minutes and earned an extra 30 seconds by hitting four home runs of over 425 feet. In the first pitch of bonus time, Frazier sent his 14th homer into what is normally the Reds’ bullpen to advance to the semifinals.

Frazier moved on to face No. 3 seed Donaldson, who defeated Anthony Rizzo in round one. Donaldson went first, hitting eight home runs in regulation and an additional one in bonus time. The round started off slowly for Frazier, but he caught fire as the clock winded down. Heading into the home stretch, Frazier trailed by one, but tied things up at nine with eight seconds remaining, and hit the go-ahead blast as time expired to defeat Donaldson, 10-9.

Needless to say, the everyone in the park was pretty fired up:

That set up a showdown with rookie sensation Pederson, who had convincing wins over Albert Pujols and Manny Machado, and also hit the longest home run of the night at 487 feet. The Dodgers’ phenom put on another tremendous power display in the championship round, bashing 14 home runs and hitting six in a row at one point.

Unfortunately for Pederson, this was Frazier’s night. For the second time, it seemed Frazier’s chances were dead, but he was again able to overcome the odds. Once again, he was able to recover from a slow start, draw even in regulation and earn extra time. And just like in his matchup with Fielder, Frazier needed only one pitch to take the win and send the crowd into a frenzy:

In a season where virtually nothing has gone right for the Reds, this was a truly great night for Cincinnati. The energy in Great American Ball Park was electric in a way that it hasn’t been in nearly three years, when the Reds last played a postseason game at home. Unlike those playoffs, the hometown crowd was able to go home happy this time.

It was also a great night for baseball, as the new Derby format was a huge success. I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical about the bracket structure and the timed rounds, but it truly couldn’t have worked out better. With a time limit of four minutes per hitter, it spared us from having to watch batters take pitch after pitch and also prevented the event from dragging on for four hours. Meanwhile, the one-on-one contests added tons of drama and a new level of competition as almost every matchup came down to the wire.

Take the great story of Frazier winning in his home city and combine it with with an exciting new format, and the 2015 Home Run Derby was perhaps the best one ever. Let’s hope that the All-Star game is just as compelling.

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