Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson did not win Monday’s MLB Home Run Derby, but he was part of one of the night’s best moments.
The 27-year-old’s 21st home run of the first round was a moonshot, catapulting into the second deck. A fan really wanted that baseball, cartwheeling over a stadium railing in a failed attempt to acquire a derby souvenir.
Bennett Lloyd, who is a rising sophomore right-handed pitcher at Division III Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, was the fan, and he took MLB.com through the play.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” Lloyd said. “I just landed on my shoulder. Cut up my elbow a little bit. But that’s all. Olson hit a home run, and obviously, I want a ball. Once I saw that it was coming in right over here, I started trying to get close. Once I got a little closer, I realized, ‘Oh, I’m going to go over.’ I just dove and tried to get the ball.”
Lloyd did not go home with a baseball, although the cut on his elbow will give him a nice memory. And his failure did have a positive: eternal internet fame.
“It’s really weird and kind of funny,” Lloyd said, also noting he received messages from friends after the incident. “I like to see myself get made fun of, so it’s kind of funny.”
Mets slugger Pete Alonso took home the victory and the $1 million in prize money, after beating Trey Mancini of the Orioles 23-22 in the final round. The crowd of 49,098 saw the 26-year-old defend his 2019 Derby victory – the event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For me, I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” Alonso said after his victory. “And being able to showcase that and really put on a fun display for fans, I just think that it’s truly a dream come true for me. Because when I was younger, my parents actually let me stay up past my bedtime to watch this.”