Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics at bat during the Home Run Derby at Citi Field.(Photo Robert Deutsch USA TODAY Sports)
SHARECONNECT 22 TWEETCOMMENTEMAILMORE
NEW YORK No matter how the 2013 All Star Home Run Derby turned out the night belonged to Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes.
The Oakland Athletics outfielder set a torrid early pace blasting 17 homers in the opening round including several into the third deck in left field on his way to defeating Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals 9 8 in the final.
I don't know if they can see this in Cuba but the day before yesterday I spoke with my 4 year old son who's in Cuba and he asked me to dedicate the home runs to him Cespedes said in Spanish. So I dedicate them to him and to the rest of my family.''
HARPER Family steals the show at Derby
Cespedes needed only five outs to finish off Harper with several of his gargantuan blasts hitting off press box windows pickup truck windows and upper deck facades.
The clincher was a 455 foot blast to dead center that the 27 year old Cuban didn't even wait to see come down before celebrating.
The second batter to take the field Cespedes energized the Citi Field crowd with homers to left and center field the longest of which traveled 456 feet to dead center.
During the first round when I took my first five swings I felt I was really in a rhythm and felt that I could put on a show like I did tonight Cespedes said.
This stadium may be very difficult but it's not as difficult as Oakland and if I can do it in Oakland I thought why couldn't I do it here
Only two players in Home Run Derby history Bobby Abreu with 24 in 2005 and Josh Hamilton with 28 in 2008 have ever hit more homers in a single round.
The final certainly wasn't lacking in buzz from Cespedes' mammoth home runs to Harper's sparkling gold cleats and freshly gelled Mohawk.
With his father Ron on the mound and his brother Bryan (a pitcher in the Nats' minor league system) sporting a Rollie Fingers esque moustache in the stands Harper hit eight home runs in each of the three rounds.
DERBY Cespedes puts on impressive display
Cespedes didn't even need his second round with Harper's total of 16 the second highest over the two rounds.
He's a stud an absolute stud Ron Harper said of his son's opponent in the final. He's got a great swing. I love his swing. He's great for the game.
Harper didn't do too badly himself. He hit a 471 foot home run in the first round that was second only to Prince Fielder's 483 foot shot for the longest of the night. He was consistent throughout in the hot humid conditions hitting eight homers in each of his three trips to the plate.
During those last two rounds I was a little tired Harper admitted. But it was a lot of fun. I had a blast.''
Harper edged Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer by one and major league home run leader Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles by four to advance to the final.
Four players were eliminated in the first round of the competition Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (six) and two time champion Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers (5) as well as both team captains David Wright of the New York Mets (5) and Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees (4).
Despite his success in his first appearance in the Derby at the tender age of 20 Harper still wasn't satisfied. I want to win he said. That's the reason you're out there. But I had a lot of fun.''
On a night in which Harper and Cespedes were the headliners leave it to the elder Harper to put things in perspective.
This probably is the first time it really hit me. It's like 'Wow this is what it's all about.' It's really cool the camaraderie with these guys even though they're in different leagues different teams they're still rooting each other on no matter what.''
Contributing Jorge L. Ortiz
GALLERY HOME RUN DERBYLast SlideNext Slide
SHARECONNECT 22 TWEETCOMMENTEMAILMORE