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July 10, 2017
KARL RAVECH: We're going to get started here. I want to say good afternoon to everybody and thanks very much for joining us for this 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby press conference. It's going to take place tonight obviously at Marlins Park right here, and will be broadcast on ESPN at 8:00 Eastern time.
It's single-elimination bracketed play. Each batter gets four minutes per round to hit as many home runs as they can. Thirty seconds of bonus time could be earned by hitting two home runs that travel at least 440 feet. All these guys will do that.
Let's meet the players that are going to be participating in tonight's event. You have Giancarlo Stanton, who is all the way to my left. He will be competing in his third Home Run Derby. His opponent in the first round will be the eighth-seeded Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, who I can see is right in front of him.
Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas, the fourth seed, competes in his first career derby. His opponent in the opening round, five seed Miguel SanĂ³ of the Twins. He's a first-timer.
Rookie Cody Bellinger, the third seed, takes part in his first derby. He'll square off against Charlie Blackmon, the sixth seed. Both first-timers.
The Major League Baseball home-run leader to my left, Aaron Judge of the Yankees, the two seed. He appears in the event for the first time, he'll face off against Justin Bour of the Marlins, the seventh side taking part in his first career derby.
Because there's so much interest in this and popularity, rather than have me ask any questions, I'm going to first bring up T-Mobile's chief marketing officer to get a couple of words from Andrew Sherrard. We only have 15 or 20 minutes. Andrew?
ANDREW SHERRARD: Thank you very much. On behalf of T-Mobile, welcome to our second annual T-Mobile Home Run Derby. We are so excited to have it here at Marlins Park today. As the Uncarrier, our customers enjoy unlimited baseball on America's best unlimited network. We're all about giving more people more of what they love. And we've done that here this week with All-Star.
Down at our signature store in Lincoln Square down in Miami Beach. We have had player-inspired haircuts for free to fans.
Tonight we're going to have lounges. You guys can hang out in and bring the social media world alive about some behind the scenes action from the MLB derby.
We've also got the Bracket Challenge. We have 100,000 people fill out a bracket this year. They are going to follow along and see if they made the right choices.
And we are streaming this live in Times Square. You'll be up on the big screen in the city that never sleeps.
We even have a few surprises this year for our fans here in the stadium. So any time any of these guys hits one of these magenta balls out of the park we'll give nice rewards. The more magenta you hit out, the more fun and love they get here.
We have gone all out to make this an amazing and fun time for all the fans. Personally I'm excited to see if my bracket survives the first few rounds.
With that I'll hand it back to Karl. Thank you for letting us be part of this great event.
KARL RAVECH: Thank you so much. We're grateful you're a part of this event.
I want to remind everybody the Derby Bracket Challenge gives fans the chance to predict the results of the Derby. You can enter at www.mlb.com\bracketchallenge. One perfect bracket gets four tickets to Game 1 of the 2017 World Series and a $500 Mastercard gift card.
Q. J.B., you know this is coming for you: The fact that you were in the final five and selected for this contest, does it in your mind sort of validate your career arc that continues to go up?
JUSTIN BOUR: I think it's a huge honor to be considered for that final vote. Against some great players and to have the opportunity to go out here and whack some homers in the upper deck for the hometown fans, it's going to be great.
Q. Aaron, I got to see you in the Fall League. Things look different now. What adjustments have you made since the Fall League to now?
AARON JUDGE: Just a lot of changes with my approach. A couple of things with my swing, making sure my barrel stays through the zone as long as possible. Mostly just approach. My first year in the Big Leagues I would walk up there, first pitch goes by, I'm wondering why I missed that first pitch. All of a sudden it's 0-2, and before you know it I'm walking back to the dugout.
Just sticking to my approach and a couple of mechanical changes.
Q. Giancarlo Stanton, leading up to this, you say you want to have fun. Talk about that, being relaxed, do your thing. Do you think other guys should follow that?
GIANCARLO STANTON: Everyone is trying to put big pressure on me being at home, me defending title and everything. But if I get soaked up in that, I ain't going to have no fun. For me I'm enjoying the moment. I don't care if I get out in the first round or if I win it. I'm having fun and that's going to be that.
Q. Giancarlo, you were in San Francisco yesterday, played a game and flew cross country. What was your night and day like and do you feel any kind of travel wariness?
GIANCARLO STANTON: Got in real late, like 5:00. A couple of hours of sleep. Doesn't matter. We all got to call time out there. Doesn't matter. We're all going to show up.
Q. People always talk about their concern after the All-Star break this might take something out of your bat. What do you think about that and why do you want to participate?
AARON JUDGE: We're just here to have fun. Hit some BP. Put on a show for the fans. Just go out there and try and enjoy ourselves and enjoy the next couple of days.
Q. Mike, anybody are you concerned about the swing disappearing after a Derby?
MIKE MOUSTAKAS: No, we hit BP every day; we're used to it. All these guys, every other round, try to hit some balls up top. And we're used to it. We'll get done were this and go back to regular BP after that.
Like everybody is saying we're out here to have a good time, put on a good show, have some fun and I'm excited to see what these boys can do.
Q. Another one for Moose: There's two guys up there that are taking up a lot of attention. How many of those 100,000 brackets have you winning it?
MIKE MOUSTAKAS: I don't pay attention to that stuff. It's going to be awesome for all of us. I'm excited to see Giancarlo and Judge and Belly and all these guys. I'm excited to see all these guys hit some homers, see where they land. We're all just going to go out there and have fun and enjoy our time and see what happens.
Q. I know a lot of you guys, besides Giancarlo, it's your first time participating in this event. What's it been like so far and what do you think it's going to be like participating and just hitting home runs this whole event?
CHARLIE BLACKMON: Yeah, it's been an awesome time, man. Like I said, being in the same locker room with these guys. For me I was watching on TV. And to now be a part of the same team as them it's a blessing. I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can.
Q. My question is for Gary: What's it like to go up against the defending champion in the first round and what was your reaction when you saw your cracking bats, the design?
GARY SANCHEZ: In regards to your first question, you know, when I step out on the field, I'm excited to compete against whoever I'm competing against for me. I'm just going to have a good time enjoy the experience and soak it all in.
In regard to the bats, it's something the company made for me. I'm still not sure if I'm going to use them or not, but I think they are pretty cool.
Q. This is for Giancarlo: Is the Home Run Derby an event that you practice for or is it something you go ahead and do it?
GIANCARLO STANTON: I say the stamina part you have to get in there once or twice and make sure you've got some clean swings for a couple of minutes at a time. But otherwise, it's just it's a little more than normal BP.
KARL RAVECH: Charlie you've had a great year and you're a leadoff hitter. Does a leadoff hitter feel comfortable on this stage than the two guys to your left or right?
CHARLIE BLACKMON: No, not so much (laughter). I'm really honored to be here, and be associated with this group. Home runs aren't my thing. It's definitely not just BP for me. You come watch my BP, I'm flipping balls over to the shortstop. I'm going to have to do something a little different.
Q. Mr. Judge, can you tell me some of your favorites as a kid growing up, sluggers, people who looked up to?
AARON JUDGE: Growing up in California, I watched the San Francisco Giants a lot. I watched Barry Bonds, one of the best hitters of the game. Probably my favorite.
Q. Before you were born looking back?
AARON JUDGE: Before I was born? Probably Dave Winfield.
Q. Miguel, I know that Fernando Tatis is going to pitch to you. What did you tell him about what kind of pitch you're looking for? And what would it mean to follow Robbie Cano as a champion if you could win this?
MIGUEL SANĂ“: It's a great moment for me that he can be here. And Tatis he pitched to me all season. I know how he throw. He throw really good. And I know tonight he'll do a great job, and have some fun outside, like me.
Like Stanton said, I'm going to go up there and have some fun with my teammates. I see a lot of monsters, like one and two over there. Go there and have some fun and try to win it. That's it. Don't put pressure on myself or nothing. Just go there and hit.
Q. Would you guys comment on whether an indoor stadium or an outdoor stadium makes a difference for this kind of competition? And since we have both here what you would rather have?
GIANCARLO STANTON: I think it depends the weather outside. But for here you never know what the wind is going to do and swirl around and the window is open or whatnot. I say closed. Plus I do think if it's open and the windows are open, that the lefty over here has an advantage (laughter). So we're going to keep it the same.
Q. Moose, this is your first time as far as being here, would there be any jitters or anything?
MIKE MOUSTAKAS: Yeah. Just a little bit. I think once I take that first swing, everything is going to be all right. I was actually talking with Salvy and Jason, kind of the same thing, Wild Card game and the World Series. Get the jitters until the first pitch then just go out and play baseball and have a great time. That's kind of what I'm looking forward to.
Q. Justin, what is the difference as we'll talk when there's no screen around you? What is so significantly different about being up there without it?
JUSTIN BOUR: I mean, nothing really. I have my BP man here, Lorenzo Bundy. He's going to throw a bunch of hanging change-ups out there, and I'll try to waft them up there.
For me, it's no different. Like they were saying, leading up to it you get a little bit of jitters. Once the first one goes flying, it's all going to be good. We'll have a great time.
Q. How can hitting home runs at sea level compare to hitting at Coors Field?
CHARLIE BLACKMON: Coors Field is bigger than most of these parks, but I think we can have greater difference in weather at Coors Field. If it's cold, it's not going to go very far. But when it gets really hot, I think the ball of course will carry further than Miami even if it's hot here.
Q. Mike, somebody who has played for years, is the baseball different this year?
MIKE MOUSTAKAS: I don't know. I like them if they are. I don't know, I don't have an answer.
GIANCARLO STANTON: That's for the complaining pitchers, that question.
Q. Justin, being a first-time guy, have you sought out any advice or looked at maybe Giancarlo in terms of getting into a rhythm or how much of a pace you want to go at? Do you think that's a factor at all?
JUSTIN BOUR: Not really. It's all about finding that rhythm and the vibe. I took a peak at the highlights from last year. If I do what he can, I think I'll be okay. I'm going to have to hit quite a few home runs in the first round to get this guy behind me. About 100 will do.
Q. Cody, to start this year where you did and be here now, what is that like for you? You started the year off in Triple-A, and you're sitting here hitting home runs in the Derby?
CODY BELLINGER: Yeah, it's been crazy, man. I started the year in Triple-A. Got called up April 25th. Was probably supposed to be here for a week or two. And just kind of crazy how everything happened, a few other injuries. And yeah, I just tried to have fun with it and help the team win any way I can. And like I said, I'm here now and just trying to enjoy it.
Q. This one is for Aaron: What does it feel like to have a $14,000 signed baseball card by you to be sold to somebody?
AARON JUDGE: Yeah, it's pretty surreal. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams something like that would happen.
KARL RAVECH: For people not in the know in the room, what was that? A card was sold that you signed for $14,000?
AARON JUDGE: Yes.
KARL RAVECH: All right, again, thank you guys and women very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports