Fresh off getting Spike Lee to narrate its opening to the NBA Finals, ESPN brought in Billy Crystal to welcome viewers to Monday’s Home Run Derby.
The video features the well-known Yankees fan mimicking some of the classic home run calls by broadcasters over the years (yes, he of course included Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay’s “See Ya!”).
You can watch the opener in the video above.
The Home Run Derby, like all the All-Star Game itself, is back after a year off due to last year’s sliver of a season held during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crystal uses the intro as a way to show that, the All-Star Game’s return (with crowds) is symbolic of the country coming back itself (even though the pandemic is still very much ongoing and the Delta variant threatens to undo much of the progress made this year).
“We’ve been cooped for so long,” Crystal says, “what could be better than watching a few hundred baseballs launched into orbit to show we’re finally rounding the bases ourselves?”
The Home Run Derby is headlined by Los Angeles Angels pitcher (yes, pitcher) Shohei Ohtani, who will attempt to dethrone the reigning Derby champ, Pete Alonso of the New York Mets. Other participants include Juan Soto (Washington Nationals), Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers), Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies, who are hosting the event after MLB moved it away from Atlanta), Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals), Matt Olsen (Oakland Athletics), Trey Mancini (Baltimore Orioles).
The 2021 Home Run Derby will begin on 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ESPN