Major League Baseball is standing by its count.
Controversy swirled during the Home Run Derby on Monday night in Los Angeles, as viewers watching on ESPN believed that Kyle Schwarber had matched Albert Pujols’ total of 20 homes runs in the first round. The final count, however, revealed that Pujols had defeated Schwarber, 20-19.
Fans on social media seemed to be placing blame on ESPN, but MLB is responsible for the counting of the home runs.
The Post reached out to MLB seeking clarity on the confusion. According to the league, MLB employed three people on-site to serve as counters during the Home Run Derby and also used its instant replay center to confirm the number of home runs hits. All three of them had the same count for Schwarber — 19 homers — which matched what was on the ESPN broadcast. MLB also had an umpire on the field making calls, as in a normal game.
The league believes the confusion was a result of the ESPN broadcast not showing where some of the balls Schwarber hit actually landed. MLB reviewed Schwarber’s round and stood by the final count of 19 home runs.
The Home Run Derby played out at a fast pace, with the batter-appointed pitchers often making their next pitch before the previous batted ball lands.
It’s a remarkably difficult endeavor for the announcers, the cameras, the producers and the scorekeepers to keep track of — and this chaos is exactly what drives a lot of the mass public interest in the event.
Schwarber, who was the No. 1 seed for the eight-person Derby, did not appear to be bothered by the loss. He bowed to Pujols and hugged him after the first-round matchup.
That was not the only controversial moment of the Derby. During the finals, the last pitch in regulation to Nationals star Juan Soto was released by the pitcher after the clock struck zero. Soto hit that ball out for his 14th home run, and in the bonus round he bested Julio Rodriguez’s total of 18 to win the Derby.
Rodriguez, the Mariners rookie, denied Mets star Pete Alonso’s chance at a three-peat by defeating him in the second round, 31-23. Alonso defeated Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves in the first round.
Soto defeated Pujols 16-15 in the second round after knocking out the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez in the first round.
Schwarber previously participated in the Home Run Derby in 2018, making it to the finals before losing to Bryce Harper.