Home Run Derby Controversy Emerges Over Soto, Schwarber Home Run Counts
Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Juan Soto
The Home Run Derby changing its rules from a 10 outs per batter to a time limit has opened the door for controversy once again.
A year after Pete Alonso’s win over Trey Mancini was up for debate, the 2022 version of the event is leaving bettors questioning results once again.
Albert Pujols was a feel-good story with his underdog win over heavy favorite Kyle Schwarber. Pujols only hit 13 home runs in regular time, but after Schwarber just tied him, Pujols won 20-19 in extra time.
Or did he?
Following the result, there was debate on social media over whether or not the count was accurate.
Kyle Schwarber hits 20 in OT, but ESPN forgets to count homerun #18.
Robbery in the Ravine. pic.twitter.com/luIhUuWiRa
— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) July 19, 2022
Had Schwarber finished with 20, it would’ve forced a sudden death tiebreaker with Pujols. The result was significant for sportsbooks and bettors in many ways.
Schwarber was the second-most-bet hitter to win the Derby at BetMGM. Pujols was the biggest — and only — upset in the first round.
Pujols went on to lose to Juan Soto in the semifinals. Soto defeated Julio Rodriguez in the final, but that also came with controversy.
The rules state a pitch cannot be made until a ball has landed, yet on multiple instances pitches were being made with balls still in the air. An umpire can be seen often holding his hand up to signal “stop” to the pitcher, only for the pitcher to throw the pitch anyway.
The pitch was not released before the buzzer. It is counted anyway. pic.twitter.com/VGkzU9oyYj
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 19, 2022
While it may seem insignificant to casual spectators, it’s a major problem for the sports betting industry. There’s no hiding from the fact that sports betting is part of this event, and the issues that continue to arise may need to be addressed by both the league and sportsbooks in the future.