Texas Rangers

Why Joey Gallo is now seriously considering the Home Run Derby

Joey Gallo: Young but experienced Rangers ready for takeoff

Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo said that he and the other third- and fourth-year Texas Rangers players can make strides this season.
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Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo said that he and the other third- and fourth-year Texas Rangers players can make strides this season.

Joey Gallo did a double-take.

The Texas Rangers slugger was scrolling through Twitter Wednesday night when he came across a tweet he didn’t think was real.

The Home Run Derby winner was going to earn $1 million at this year’s All-Star Game.

But it is real and it got Gallo’s attention.

“I think that’s great. You start getting guys involved who aren’t just doing it for whatever. Now there is a significant reward for doing it,” Gallo said. “It’s going to be a lot more exciting and more people competing. I think that’s a pretty good idea.”

Gallo, who has 81 homers combined the past two seasons, turned down offers to compete in the derby before, citing various reasons, including most honestly: he didn’t think he was playing well enough.

“I always wanted to do it but I didn’t want it to come at the cost of hurting my season or maybe being bad for the second half of the season,” he said. “I think it will be fun to do it, hopefully I will be healthy and able to do it this year.”

Gallo was concerned a year ago that participating in the event could potentially get him out whack for the second half of the season.

“I didn’t want it to come at the cost of hurting my season or not being ready for the second half, be tired,” he said. “We also went to Cabo. I’d rather go to Cabo than take a thousand swings.”

He also hasn’t been keen on being singled out for attending a skills competition while hitting .180.

“I know if I went it would be, ‘this guy is the biggest joke in baseball. He is hitting .180 and he’s in the home run derby,’ all of this,” he said. “That all falls under I wasn’t playing well enough to be there in the first place.”

But now, with $1 million on the line, things have changed. Gallo, who is set to make $600,000 in 2019, is intrigued.

And if he feels confident in the season he’s having, he’d be up for the derby.

“I don’t necessarily have to be on the All-Star team but just feeling that I’m in a better place than last season. Now it’s different, a million dollars, you win the contest. I’m not making a million dollars this year. It kind of changes everybody’s mindset.”

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
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