ARLINGTON, Texas — Many have waited so long for it to happen. Now, it finally will: Joey Gallo will participate in the Home Run Derby.
Two years ago, Gallo opted to not participate in the event. He was coming off an oblique injury and it didn't feel right for him. This year, everything lined up for Gallo, which made the decision a lot easier.
"Everything kind of worked out," Gallo said after hitting two home runs in the Rangers' 5-3 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday. "I made the All-Star team, and I didn't want to do the Derby unless I made the team. I thought it would be fun. How many opportunities do you get?"
Gallo said general manager Chris Young, manager Chris Woodward and others in the organization urged Gallo to participate, even though the All-Star slugger doesn't crave the spotlight. With Gallo's future with the club uncertain with the Rangers potentially selling at the trade deadline, it seemed like the perfect time to do it.
"I know I had to do one, at least," Gallo said. "Things worked out. I made the team. I'm swinging it well. I'm healthy. I don't want to wait too long. I'm still in a Ranger uniform, and I want to do it in a Ranger uniform. And we're in Denver, so it should be fun hitting there."
Making the trip just a bit more special, Gallo will be taking another member of the Rangers organization with him to the All-Star Game to pitch to him: third base coach, and cancer survivor, Tony Beasley.
"With what he's been through and what he's overcame, the story should be more about him than me," Gallo said. "I want to give him some recognition. I think it's really cool, and he's always wanted to throw to me in the Derby. I'm really excited about him being able to do that."
Rangers History Today: Derek Holland’s Masterful Performance in 2011 World Series
It was Game 4 of the 2011 World Series and the Rangers fired up the 'Dutch Oven' in an effort to even the series.
Texas Rangers 2021 Positional Review: First Base
Our 2021 positional review continues with a look at Nathaniel Lowe's first full season as a everyday first baseman in the big leagues.
Rangers History Today: Hello World Series
It was a happy day for long-suffering Rangers fans, as Texas clinched its first berth in the World Series, beating the Yankees doing it.
There was a valid argument that either Gallo or fellow All-Star and teammate Adolis García would participate in the Home Run Derby. García has been among the AL leaders in home runs throughout the season. It wasn't until Gallo's recent hot streak where he surpassed García.
Nevertheless, García was very happy for Gallo, and may be the first one to help out Gallo when he calls timeout.
"He was super excited," Gallo said. "He told me he was going to be out there to support me and bring the towel out and the Gatorade. That should be fun."
Gallo has been on a scorching tear over the past few weeks. Since Major League Baseball began cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances on June 21, Gallo is slashing .327/.468/1.000/1.468 with 11 home runs, 19 RBI, and 13 walks. He's raised his season OPS north of .900 and has looked even better than the All-Star version of him we saw in 2019.
Even though most fans are excited about seeing just how far Gallo can hit some of the balls in the thin Colorado air, he'll have his work cut out for him to win the Derby. MLB home run leader Shohei Ohtani will be participating along with some of the game's most potent potent power hitters, including Colorado's Trevor Story, Washington's Juan Soto, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, and cancer survivor Trey Mancini.
"They're all really good home run hitters," Gallo said. "We'll see what happens. It's a really good Home Run Derby this year. They've got some good names in it. Anybody can win it."
More on SI's Inside The Rangers:
- 'This Guy Has Been A Spark': Hicks Has Another Big Night In Rangers 10-5 Win
- Rangers Draft Central: Everything You Need To Know Before Texas Picks No. 2 Overall
- Rangers Midseason Report: The Pitchers
Like 'Inside The Rangers' on Facebook