Todd Frazier wins HR Derby in dramatic fashion: 'I can't let [Pete Rose] down'

Mike Petraglia
July 13, 2015 - 8:24 pm
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CINCINNATI -- Fans in Cincinnati finally have a hero they can really rally around. Todd Frazier pulled off one of the more dramatic finishes in 30-year history of the Home Run Derby here in his home of homer-friendly Great American Ball Park. Needing 15 home runs in the final round to beat Dodger rookie sensation Joc Pederson, Frazier tied Pederson with a home run late in the final round and hit his first offering from his nervous brother, Charlie, to left to become the first player since the Cubs' Ryne Sandberg in 1990 to win the contest in his home park. The Frazier line drive to left sent off loud fireworks and pandemonium in the stands of the win-starved Cincinnati crowd. The PA, sounding like Yankee Stadium after a Yankee win, played Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way" for the New Jersey native and Cincinnati hero. "I had no clue they were going to do that," said Frazier, who has Sinatra's "Send Me To The Moon" as his walk-up music. "That was pretty nice. I do enjoy that music. It's a beautiful thing once you win something. To hear that makes it even better." With the threat of rain, storms and lightning late in the evening, Major League Baseball decided to shorten each of the three rounds by a minute, from five to four. Frazier, who seemed gassed at times in each of the three rounds, found new energy just in time in each round, beating two-time champ Prince Fielder, 14-13, in the first round, Josh Donaldson, 10-9, in the second and Pederson, 15-14, in the final. "It made for a little more opportunity," Frazier said. "It meant you were going to have to pick the pace up a little bit. You swing at everyting, really, once you're down. I felt like a little kid out there sometimes, in the backyard, swinging at everything. It was pretty cool." The Great American Ball Park crowd played a huge role in Frazier's heroics. Starting with the first round, when he beat two-time champ Prince Fielder on a last-second blast to left, the crowd roared every ball over the fence. Frazier beat Josh Donaldson on another last-second shot in the second round before clubbing 10 home runs in the final three minutes to come from behind and beat Pederson. "Big-time impact," Frazier said of the 43,587 in the park. "Just hearing the crowd roar, call my name, adrenaline. And those last minutes of each round really picked me up and drive the ball out of the park a lot more. It was a lot of fun. I appreciate that a lot." The Cincinnati fans booed Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton during the celebrity softball game on Sunday and have not seen a team win a playoff home game since the Reds beat the Dodgers in Game 3 of the 1995 NLDS. The Reds have lost all six home playoff games since then, not including the 1999 one-game playoff against the Mets. The Bengals have lost all three home playoff games in the Marvin Lewis era. But perhaps most poignant was Frazier's mention of another hometown hero that will play a prominent role in pre-game festivities on Tuesday night before the 86th Midsummer Classic. Reminded that he needed 15 homers in the last round to beat Pederson, Frazier invoked the name of Pete Rose. "I had some unfinished business [from] last year," Frazier said of losing in the finals to Yoenis Cespedes. "I put up a poor showing at the end. [Pederson] hit 14. I was thinking honestly, and this is true, I was thinking 14, that's Pete Rose. I can't let him down. That's all. I really was. I was really thinking about that. I had 14 in the first round. It's a coincidence, I think."