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The Loop

Something You Haven't Seen Before

Can we interest you in the first-ever extra-innings home-run-derby walk-off dinger in Pioneer League history?

May 24, 2021

Sunday might have been the craziest day in sports history. You probably think we’re joking, but we’re not. Phil became the oldest major winner in golf in a scene plucked straight out of ‘Tin Cup.’ The Predators won in double-OT while Titans lineman Taylor Lewan tore his shirt off and chugged beers like a Kodiak bear. Playoff basketball returned to MSG (before Trae Young promptly killed it); NASCAR saw a rainy, fiery wreck; and Max Verstappen won his first-ever Monaco Grand Prix while Serena Williams waved the checkered flag. That is A LOT to keep track, so we completely understand if you missed a bit of history go down in the Pioneer League, where the Rocky Mountain Vibes’ Manny Olloque hit the first-ever extra-innings home-run-derby walk-off in baseball history. Watch the clip and then we’ll explain.

Absolute scenes. Anyway, as you may or may not have heard, this spring the Pioneer League—the Rocky Mountain’s region’s premier independent minor-league baseball circuit—announced they were scrapping extra-innings ball. No more 13-inning marathons. No more runners starting on second. Obsolete holdovers to be replaced by one simple concept: A sudden-death home run derby.

On Sunday, we finally got to see extra-innings baseball as God intended it, and it was glorious.

Under the new system, if the game is tied after nine innings, each team designates a hitter who receives five pitches. The most dingers, dongs, nukes, bombs, and blasts hit in those five pitches wins the game. If the score is still tied, two more batters are selected. In this case Olloque answered the bell and delivered the knockout.

But while Olloque might have been the first, we hope he’s not the last. We hope every other game in the Pioneer League goes to extras this year and that America films them on their cellphones and that all the blurry, shaky cellphone videos go viral. Maybe then Rob Manfred will finally wake up and smell the Folgers.