Pujols, Soto Star In Home Run Derby Controversy

Written By Eli Hershkovich on July 19, 2022
Home Run Derby Controversy

There’s always whining in regards to a variety of sporting events, especially when a wager goes south in the final minutes. That trend followed suit on Monday, as bettors took to Twitter to complain about the 2022 Home Run Derby controversy at Dodger Stadium.

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What Was The Home Run Derby Controversy?

This go-around, the Home Run Derby altered its rules from 10 outs per batter to a time limit per plate appearance. Essentially, each participant received three minutes with the opportunity for bonus time.

For starters, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Pujols squared off in the first round — with Schwarber closing as a -400 favorite over the soon-to-be Baseball Hall of Famer. Although Pujols eventually outdueled Schwarber in a swing-off, should he have been gifted that opportunity in the first place?

Below is a shot of the clock right as Pujols’ bonus time wrapped up — before he delivered blast No. 13. Plus, the rules state that another pitch must not be made until the previous ball has fallen. On that pitch, among others, the ball was still in the air.

There’s also a video of ESPN “miscounting” Schwarber’s home run total in the extra session, yet the presumption is that one of them fell short of the fence. Regardless, sportsbooks reaped the benefits of the clock error for Pujols, considering Schwarber accounted for the second-most wagered tickets to win the event at BetMGM Sportsbook.

“This is what you get when betting a quasi-exhibition event with tons of randomness and not clearly defined rules,” Jeffrey Benson, the sportsbook operations manager at Circa Sports, said.

But the Home Run Derby controversy didn’t stop there. After Juan Soto took down Pujols in the semifinals, he was presented with another pitch as time expired — prior to his bonus session in the championship round. The subsequent home run helped him knock off Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez, 19-18.

Soto was bet down from +600 to +400 before first pitch, tallying the most number of wagers to win the Derby at BetMGM.

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Eli Hershkovich Avatar
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Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich