The home run derby is arguably the best part of MLB’s All-Star break, but most players never get the opportunity to participate. Kris Bryant was fortunate enough to be selected for the derby in his rookie season after he hit 12 first-half homers, but in a Red Bull conversation with fellow Chicago All-Star Zach LaVine, Bryant made it clear he’s not eager to give it another go any time soon.
“I don’t think I’d ever, I don’t think I could do it again,” Bryant said. “Because man, that is tiring, tiring doing a home run derby.”
Despite how drained Bryant felt after the derby, he put up even better power numbers in the second half, hitting 17 homers over the final two and a half months of the season. After the fatigue faded, he had memories to last a lifetime, too.
“I did the home run derby, just because hitting with my dad in my backyard growing up, it was like we always dreamed of this,” Bryant said. “Him pitching to me in the home run derby. It would’ve been nice to win the thing, but it was more just a father-son moment that was like, yeah, I had to do that with my dad once.
“It was my rookie year too. I was just in the league, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to experience everything my first year,’ and I was like, ‘I’m going to do this.’ But they changed the format that year. They did, instead of the 10 outs thing, they did, I think it was five straight minutes of just hitting. Then you had to wait for the ball to land, but it’s like, this is way too much. Like, I literally thought I was going to puke after. I was up against Albert Pujols, and I was like, ‘Just please beat me, I do not want to be in this thing anymore. I’m so tired.’”
Luckily for Bryant, Pujols edged Bryant out in that first round, beating him 10-9. And if MLB calls him asking to swing for the fences again, Bryant knows what he’d say.
“No thank you. I don’t think I’ll ever do it again.”