Matt Olson's first MLB Home Run Derby experience was short-lived.
The A's first baseman was the No. 3 seed in the annual All-Star Weekend event, but was upset in the first round by Baltimore Orioles first baseman and No. 6 seed Trey Mancini by the slimmest of margins.
Mancini went first and finished with 24 homers, setting the mark that Olson would have to eclipse to advance to the second single-elimination round. Olson started slowly, then found a groove midway through, setting up an exciting finish.
He hit his 23rd long ball on his second-to-last swing. His final swing would have tied the score -- but it went foul. Time expired before he could get another pitch to hit from A's assistant hitting coach Eric Martins.
It's a disappointing finish for the A's slugger, who many considered among the favorites to win the entire event. That said, of all the competitors to lose to, there's probably not a better story than Mancini.
The Orioles' first baseman/DH was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in March 2020 and had surgery to remove a malignant tumor a few days later. He underwent chemotherapy until late September before staging a comeback. He appeared in 86 of the Orioles’ 89 games in the first half, batting .256 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI.
So, surely not the outcome that Olson or A's fans were hoping for. But, obviously, there are much more important things in life.