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July 16, 2018
THE MODERATOR: Let's meet the players here. Beginning on my right, top seed is Jesus Aguilar. He's competing in his first career Derby and his opponent down there in front of him, the eighth seed, Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies, also his first Derby.
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman will be the No. 4 seed, his first Derby and the opponent, the 5-seed, Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs.
To my left, Bryce Harper, he's done this before. He's the No. 2 seed of the hometown Washington Nationals and he faces off against the Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman, the 7-seed, first career Derby.
L.A. infielder Max Muncy is here, takes part in his first Derby and faces off against Javier Baez, the 6-seed competing for the first time. We have a handful of first timers.
Let's start with the first timers. I'll start with you, Freddie because you get a chance to deal with Bryce.
What do you make of the whole Derby experience, the run-up to it and what do you anticipate it being like?
FREDDIE FREEMAN: It's been a lot so far. My hands are sweating already. He's making me nervous, trash-talking me. We've had a lot of fun and we've been competing against each other for a long time, and doing this, it's a dream come true.
THE MODERATOR: Bryce, you're the hometown person and you've seen guys that have hosted things like this. Is there any more to it, to wearing that uniform and participating in a Derby in a game?
BRYCE HARPER: Yeah, I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I think going out there and just trying to enjoy it with the fans, trying to enjoy it with the Nats fans and trying to have a good time. That's the thing, go out and have fun; win, lose or draw, going to have some fun with my Pops and that's about it.
THE MODERATOR: Alex Bregman, World Series last year, Home Run Derby this year. How do you describe the sort of chain you've been riding?
ALEX BREGMAN: Yeah, it's been fun. It's been a blast this last year. Definitely didn't expect to be hitting in the Home Run Derby, but it's going to be fun. Get to face Kyle who I was teammates with before. It's going to be fun.
THE MODERATOR: Bryce just said the goal is to have fun. Is the goal to win, too, and have fun? Does that make one sort of more fun if you win the thing?
KYLE SCHWARBER: I mean, it's definitely going to make it better. But you know, I think just being able to come out here and compete in front of home baseball fans, it's going to be a lot of fun. You just can't take it too seriously. Just go out there and just wing it.
THE MODERATOR: Let's ask you this. Max, you're hitting home runs at an unbelievable pace and now you're in the Derby. How do you pace yourself? What's your game plan?
MAX MUNCY: Well, thankfully I'm hitting second so my game plan is see how many home runs Javy hits and try to beat that. Score more than the other guy.
THE MODERATOR: That's a good one. So I'll ask you, you're hitting first in your head-to-head match. Is there a number you're going with? What's your philosophy?
JAVIER BAEZ: Just try and relax, enjoy and just hit BP and see them go out.
THE MODERATOR: Just keep waving good-bye to it.
Rhys, Philadelphia Phillies, you're here, you get the No. 1 seed. In the NCAA Tournament, what we saw this year, a lot of 1's don't lose. What's the game plan for you going against someone like that?
RHYS HOSKINS: Well, first of all, the guy's big; big and scary.
No, I think -- I get to go first. It will be a good opportunity just to do that. Hopefully set a tone. But I think like everyone else has said, it's just cool to be here with these guys and enjoy this on such a cool stage.
THE MODERATOR: Jesus, what's it feel like to be the No. 1 seed?
JESUS AGUILAR: It's a great feeling. I don't know. (Laughter).
Going to give a good show there. It's all about show. We're going to do our best and see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: What's a good show. If I'm going into this, I'm thinking, I want to hit at least ten. What's a good show?
JESUS AGUILAR: People want to see homers, so we try to do it. (Laughter) simple.
Q. Bryce, I'm looking at your bat in the case. Can you talk about what you have there and what you bring to the table tonight?
BRYCE HARPER: Yeah, this is -- there's a bat in here and then this one is a cherry blossom. You know, just because cherry blossoms in D.C. My cleats for tomorrow are cherry blossoms, as well, and tonight, I have some American flag stuff I'm wearing.
I think just going out there and, you know, having the gear and everything like that, just having some fun with your bats during the Derby. And I think that's one of the coolest things, is being able to have the spikes and the bat and the gloves.
I think a lot of guys up here enjoy it, especially Baez. He's got some of the best swag in the game. I think, Bregman, too. That helps. Sorry, Freddie, you too. (Laughter).
It's a lot of fun to go out there and just have all the gear and be able to hit some homers, as well.
Q. Why the cherry blossom?
BRYCE HARPER: D.C., I feel like they are known for their cherry blossoms down by the monuments and stuff like that. If you have bad allergies, don't come here in April. Terrible, eyes are burning.
THE MODERATOR: Freddie, did you watch the Derby when you were younger and if so, what are your memories of watching Derbies?
FREDDIE FREEMAN: I think all of us watched All-Star Games and Home Run Derbies growing up. I think everybody remembers Ken Griffey, Jr. With his hat backwards just hitting home runs. It's just something as a kid you dream about doing and to get the opportunity to do it like them, hopefully it's a special thing and hopefully I can hit some homers like Ken Griffey, Jr. did.
THE MODERATOR: Buster Olney said to us on our Derby selection show that you've never hit a batting practice home run?
FREDDIE FREEMAN: Well, it's been three years.
THE MODERATOR: So you did?
FREDDIE FREEMAN: I hit them before -- I promise you, I've hit a home run in BP.
BRYCE HARPER: His BP is the game against the Nationals. I've seen it.
FREDDIE FREEMAN: Today I'm just going to try to lift it a little bit.
Q. Kyle, you picked your friend and agent to pitch for you. Why did you pick him and how does that conversation go, because it's such an honor.
KYLE SCHWARBER: Yeah, we kind of joked about it the last four years. He's been throwing me down in Florida in the off-season, and he's a great dude, and well-deserved. I would have picked my dad, but he's a little bit too old (laughter).
Q. Did you tell him that?
KYLE SCHWARBER: Yeah. He's had too many falls on his bike, too.
But it's going to be fun for him. You know, being around a bunch of Big Leaguers who are the best in the biz. He's a fan of the game, and for him to be around and for me to be around, too, to be around some of the best in the biz, these guys go out there and put a show every day. It's just going to be a lot of fun.
Q. Max, you grew up in Keller. Ross Stripling grew up in Southlake, and yet you said you never met until last year at Oklahoma City. How does something like that happen? Seems very strange.
MAX MUNCY: Yeah, it's just a very small world. We went to high schools that were about three miles from each other, and then we went to rival colleges and played against each other. And then we actually played against each other growing up through the minors and now we're teammates.
Yeah, we're both here in D.C., and I'm in the Derby and he's on the All-Star team. And it's one of those things that's incredible. It makes you realize how small the world can be sometime. And it's also just great finding someone that lives that close you can build a relationship with.
THE MODERATOR: Can you tell us about the relationship you and your brother have?
JAVIER BAEZ: Yeah, he's pretty much me to be honest. I picked him because I can yell at him (laughter). I was going to pick one of my hitting coaches, but they were kind of -- my brother, he did better and like I said, I can yell at him if he don't do it right.
Q. You both had babies recently?
JAVIER BAEZ: Yeah, his is two months and mine is two weeks.
Q. Obviously you know this park really well and you've hit plenty of home runs here. Is there a spot that you would like to put one into night? Anywhere you've got picked out?
BRYCE HARPER: No, man, I think the shorter you hit them, the faster you can hit them. So I mean, just trying to barrel it up, and you don't get -- I guess you do get points for that. But just trying to hit as many homers as I can and not really worry about where they go.
THE MODERATOR: Is there a part of the park where wind blows? Are there things about the park that we may not know?
BRYCE HARPER: There's a corner out in right field that the ball doesn't travel at all. So the right field triangle corner, it's absolutely terrible.
You guys stay away from there, I think you'll be okay. (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Freddie, you buying that?
FREDDIE FREEMAN: No, I'm not buying that at all (laughter). Mind games.
THE MODERATOR: Alex, right field corner, 440.
ALEX BREGMAN: No chance. Going to try to hit it 338 feet down the left field line and just try and do that a few times.
THE MODERATOR: As many swings as you can?
ALEX BREGMAN: As many.
Q. Is there any dream scenario where you're hoping that you both face off against each other in the final?
JAVIER BAEZ: You go ahead. (Laughter).
KYLE SCHWARBER: That would be cool. It would definitely be an experience for us, you know, being teammates, and you know, to see the Javy Baez show pretty much the whole year, it's been special.
For him to do it tonight and for me to kick back and watch and see what happens, it's going to be fun and hopefully to be in the finals that would be really cool.
THE MODERATOR: Alex told us on our Derby selection show that he was hit in the head by the first pitch in a Double A Home Run Derby, conked in the head. His general manager was there and was hoping to get promoted and he got conked in the head, but in the game he did hit a home run.
Do any of you, or have any of you won a previous Home Run Derby at any level? No one's ever won one?
ALEX BREGMAN: No, but I will say this, it's one of my close friends who threw BP to me in the off-season.
THE MODERATOR: As we continue here, I want to invite T-Mobile senior vice president of brand and advertising, Peter DeLuca up to say a few words.
PETER DELUCA: We are very excited for the third T-Mobile Home Run Derby, and I can't wait to see how my own bracket does tonight. I promise to make this quick because I know what we really want to do is see what these guys do best tonight. It made T-Mobile launch our Hats Off For Heros campaign, pledging to donate $ to Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster organization for every Tweet or Instagram post using the hash tag, guaranteeing at least $1 million, and this is in addition to the $2.7 million that we donated to Team Rubicon during the post-season in MLB last year.
But we are going to go all in for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby tonight. So for every home run hit, T-Mobile is donating $5,000 to Team Rubicon, and in the bonus rounds, we are going to double that to $10,000. And we are also asking fans throughout tonight's broadcast of the Home Run Derby and in the stadium to continue to Tweet and we'll continue to donate an additional dollar.
We also have a very special thing at our T-Mobile store at 11th and East E street in D.C. where you can customize your own team cap which is a great experience. You might even get to meet one of our All-Stars there.
These are just a few of the things that we've done during this most important week in baseball. It's very exciting, and since I'm promising to keep this super short tonight, I will wrap up by saying, keep your eyes out for one additional surprise we have left this evening. We're going to do something very special for some of our local service members. Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Peter, and we are grateful for all T-Mobile does. We'll start at 8:00 Eastern on ESPN and we wish the competitors the best of luck. We know they will put on a tremendous show for the fans in Washington. FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports