New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso put on a breathtaking display at Coors Field on Monday night to defend his MLB Home Run Derby crown from 2019. The event was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.
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Alonso made his intentions clear immediately by setting a derby record with 35 home runs in the first round.
He then knocked out Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto to book a spot in the finals against Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles. Mancini put up 22 home runs, which Alonso proceeded to top with more than 30 seconds to spare.
With the victory, he became the fourth player to win the Home Run Derby multiple times and the third to go back-to-back. Many people, including Alonso himself, acknowledged the crucial role the man throwing to him played in the victory.
His name is Dave Jauss.
“Jaussy was putting them right in the bread basket,” Alonso said afterward. “I feel like I used pretty much the entire field. I was locked in on hitting the sweet spot on the bat. My tempo was great and my effort level was outstanding.”
Jauss began his career in professional baseball as a member of the Montreal Expos organization in 1988. Since then, he has worked for six different teams in a variety of roles. The Mets hired him as their bench coach in December.
His pitching performance Monday night drew the attention of fans, players and media members across the sport:
It takes two! #PeteAlonso wouldn’t have been the #HRDerby champ without this guy. Show some love to Dave Jauss. 💪 pic.twitter.com/lr5MEXW5V6
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 13, 2021
ICYMI, the Mets' staff has 2 🐐s.
Jacob deGrom & Dave Jauss. pic.twitter.com/A3D4L6d3Hm
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 13, 2021
Tip of the cap to Dave Jauss. That BP to Pete was unreal! #HRDerby #LGM
— James McCann (@McCannon33) July 13, 2021
One day I’d like to be as good at anything as Dave Jauss is at throwing BP.
— Barnabas Piper (@BarnabasPiper) July 13, 2021
Dave Jauss is the real MVP! pic.twitter.com/PNeCSWY1Pb
— Paul Sporer (@sporer) July 13, 2021
Dave Jauss is an awesome baseball guy. His bp whips are right in the wheelhouse every time. #HRDerby MVP
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) July 13, 2021
It was a fun evening and highlight in Jauss’ decades-long career in baseball, which has required plenty of sacrifices on the part of him and his family. Whether it was moving multiple times in a year or living outside the United States on occasion, there were plenty of challenges.
It got to a point where Jauss and his wife, Billie, weren’t sure their marriage was going to last. Billie went to see a counselor, who told her she needed to go to church because that was where she felt content.
Dave eventually joined the rest of his family in attending, and as a result, his marriage became centered around Christ.
“The Lord knocked on my head and showed me the hole in my heart when I was sacrificing my family, my wife, for a career that was not fulfilling what He can fulfill,” he said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2019. “I thought I was in control. I thought I was better than everybody else in the clubhouse. I thought that my intentions were good enough because they were better than the other man, but I was not releasing the control that I was trying to take on.”
Once Jauss gave his life to Christ, the way he viewed his job changed too. Baseball became a mission field and an opportunity to serve others.
“The most important part of coaching is relationships and the trust that you get from players and other coaches and other people in your organization. … Until they know you care, until they trust you, it doesn’t matter what you know,” Jauss said on the podcast.
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Jauss, Alonso and the Mets will resume regular-season play Friday against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. They hold a 3.5-game lead in the NL East at the All-Star break.
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