While many people expected a member of the Baltimore Orioles to be participating in this year's MLB Home Run Derby, Adam Jones was not the one they expected as Nelson Cruz declined the invitation to take part in the derby, but Jones will be looking to become the third Orioles hitter to take home the crown.
Ripken won the derby in 1991 at the SkyDome in Toronto, while Tejada brought home the hardware in 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Jones will join the list of Orioles who have taken part in the Home Run Derby that is fairly extensive and includes: Ripken (1985, 1991, 1992), Eddie Murray (1985), Brady Anderson (1996, 1997), Rafael Palmeiro (1998, 2004), B.J. Surhoff (1999), Tejada (2004, 2006), and Chris Davis (2013).
The Orioles centerfielder, who will also be starting in the All Star Game on Tuesday, will look to become the first Orioles to win since 2004, and if he does, will be trying to become the third player ever to win both the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game MVP Award. Ripken won both in 1991 and Garret Anderson won both in 2003.
This year the format has been changed as for the first time, there is a mini-tournament type format. Five players from each league will have seven outs apiece in a first round of the competition. The three top scorers from each league will advance to the second round, which will consist of one-on-one matchups between two players instead of just the top scoring players advancing.
The top scorer in the first round from each league gets one bye, while the #2 and #3 scorers from each league will go against one another. Each subsequent round will also give both players seven outs apiece to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner of the #2/#3 matchup in each league will play against the #1 scorer. The final round will be the winner of the AL "bracket" against the winner of the NL "bracket".
The Home Run Derby is always fun to watch, but it is even more so when the Orioles have a representative in the mix. The action will begin tonight at 8pm on ESPN.
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