Don’t Blink Home Run Derby continues to grow

As of Wednesday, December 21, 2022

#WHEN they got the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby started in 2018, neither Todd Isaacs Jr nor Lucius Fox envisioned that the event would become such a spectacular for the world to see in the Bahamas.

#The duo not only assemble the best talent available in the professional baseball ranks in the Major League affiliations and now there’s a wide range of celebrities coming on board to participate in the week-long festivities.

#“This is just our fifth year, and the growth has been tremendous,” said Fox, who became just the eighth Bahamian-born player to make the Majors.

#“This was big come through. We dreamed about it being big, but this is even bigger than we had envisioned for it.

#“We’re thankful and grateful to all who have come on board and make it what it is today. Hopefully this won’t be the end of it, but we will continue to see the growth and development for it over the next five years. We are just glad to put on this showcase for the Bahamian people and to bring the world to our shores to view what we have to offer.”

#His partner Isaacs Jr said they took the home run derby week to another level this year when they invited a number of stars, including Major League Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Dave Winfield, who blessed the participants of the Home Run Derby with their knowledge of the game.

#“The Players Alliance came down as well and they really showed us a lot of love by participating in a celebrity softball game, a golf tournament, the kids’ camp and of course the Home Run Derby,” Isaacs Jr said. “It was truly a week in Paradise for all of our visitors who came in for the event.”

#When this year’s curtain came down on the first All-Bahamian finalists, it was Chicago Cubs’ minor league infielder BJ Murray who was left standing as the champion after he outdueled Trent Deveaux 9-8 in the keenly contested showdown.

#As the first Bahamian to hoist the conch-shell shaped trophy, the 21-year-old Murray joined an elite field that includes initial back-to-back champion Bo Bichette in 2018 and 2019, Lewis Brinson in 2020, MJ Melendez in 2021 in the much-anticipated head-to-head competition.

#Prior to that victory, Murray joined his Team Fox team-mates in carting off the team title in a 146-126 decision over Team Isaacs.

#Also in attendance, although he didn’t participate in the Home Run Derby, was Jasrado ‘Jazz’ Chisholm, the seventh Bahamian to play in the Major League.

#Chisholm had to sit out the latter part of the season because of an injury but hopes to be back to the form that had the entire Florida area rocking with Jazz at the beginning of the season.

#Isaacs Jr said just the presence of Chisholm at the event brought a lot of publicity to the Home Run Derby because the media came in from MLB to promote and showcase what the Bahamas has to offer, not just in sports but from the people who have helped to form and shape the lives of the many players in the pipeline in baseball, either in the minors or in college.

#“To be able to host this event, we really look forward to it,” Isaacs Jr said. “It’s over now, but we’re looking forward to what we are going to do different next year. We’re always chasing growth and we want to do something as we give our family, friends and fans something special to watch.”

#For Fox, it was a double dose of victory, firstly for the success of the entire week and secondly as his team got the win over Isaacs’ team. “My guys said they were going to perform and I’m so glad that they did,” Fox said.

#It was even sweeter as Murray got the win over Deveaux in the All-Bahamian final in the Home Run Derby.

#“We couldn’t ask for a better ending,” Fox stated. “The trophy will stay right here in the Bahamas where it should be.”

#As they look ahead to next year, Fox said they are looking for some more funding so that they can continue to improve on the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby project that they have introduced to the Bahamas.

#“We just want to see it get bigger and better,” he summed up.

#Even as he looks at the growth of the event, Fox is hoping that he personally will get another crack at playing in the Major League and hopefully this time it will be to stay as he joins Chisholm and the sixth Bahamian to play, Antoan Richardson, who is now the first base coach for the San Francisco Giants.

#“I just have to stay healthy and stay on the field. Once I can do that, I will be alright,” Fox stressed. “I want to be able to play in the Major League. I would love to there for the 162 games, so we will see how it goes.”

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