The 2014 MLB Home Run Derby proved similar to past derbies in many respects — long and drawn out, occasionally astounding, and filled with more "back-back-back" jokes than is healthy for one night.
This season's derby did feature a new format after the first round, with participants going head-to-head against their league counterparts until the final round saw Todd Frazier and defending champ Yoenis Cespedes square off for the title of Home Run King. Cespedes won that round easily, 9-1, to become the second back-to-back winner of the Home Run Derby after Ken Griffey Jr. won in 1998 at Coors Field and 1999 at Fenway Park.
(But Cespedes did struggle a bit with his WWE championship belt and the trophy.)
Beyond Cespedes' exploits, the night's best moment likely came when Stanton launched a pitch so far into the Minneapolis night, it looked like the ball might actually clear the upper deck at Target Field:
Fans across the country were surely wide-eyed as Stanton's blast kept rising row-after-row into the upper deck.
It is safe to say that no one had a better reaction, though, than Pirates center fielder Andrew McCuthen, who probably hadn't been this excited since finding out he was getting called up to the big leagues:
Bautista probably had the most impressive single round Monday night, belting 10 home runs before making his seventh and final out in the first round.
Hometown favorite and underdog extraordinaire Brian Dozier acquitted himself just fine, belting two home runs in the first round, but fell just one home run short of advancing past the likes of Cespedes and Josh Donaldson, who fought it out in a swing off before Cespedes advanced.
The night took an unexpected turn when Yasiel Puig failed to hit a home run during his first round, disappointing bat-flip enthusiasts across the country in the process.
Having played with the Twins for the first 10 seasons of his career, Justing Morneau got some help from current Twins Dozier and Glen Perkins along with the Minnesota crowd during his first round:
Yet the night ultimately belonged to Cespedes, who is looking like quite the formidable opponent for any challenger to overcome in the Home Run Derby.
We didn't get the pleasure of seeing Cespedes flip his bat after belting the winning home run this year, but his performance was arguably more impressive. The Cuban native hit a total of 30 home runs, including 25 in the final three rounds.
Even with the likes of Puig, Stanton, and Bautista in participating, Cespedes again proved to be the best home run hitter at the Derby.