Maybe massive flamethrowers aren't necessary at the Home Run Derby?
Eight of baseball's best sluggers kicked off MLB's All-Star festivities at Dodgers Stadium on Monday — seven of them looking to dethrone two-time defending derby champ Pete Alonso. Among them was Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. He wasn't quite ready for the pregame pomp that included towering columns of flames in the infield.
Acuna, like the rest of Monday's participants, took a makeshift stage on the diamond after he was introduced. Up next came Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto. Also like the rest of the participants, Soto was welcomed to the stage by four vertical flamethrowers set up in the background. Acuna — by then standing at the back of the stage — leapt to the front when the flames set off. They were clearly a little too close — and hot — for comfort.
The fire had Ronald Acuna Jr. shook 😂 pic.twitter.com/Ap6znoyr2y
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) July 19, 2022
Yahoo Sports' Hannah Keyser reports that she could feel the flames in the press box. Per Yahoo Sports' Zach Crizer, the smell of smoke lingered in the press box well after the derby started. Imagine how hot it was for the players on the field.
Fortunately nobody got singed, and the derby carried on without incident. Unfortunately for Acuna, he was eliminated by Alonso in the first round before Soto advanced to claim the crown over Julio Rodriguez in the final.