Rob Gronkowski Wins Celebrity Home Run Derby In Buffalo
BOSTON (CBS) — Is there anything Rob Gronkowski can’t do?
At this point, the answer’s still no (though perhaps quantum physics would be on that list), as the star Patriots tight won Monday’s night’s celebrity home run derby in Buffalo, N.Y.
With the city hosting this year’s Triple-A All-Star Game, Gronkowski entertained his hometown fans with 13 total homers in two rounds, beating Bills CEO Russ Brandon in the second round. The fence was brought in a good deal for the celebrities, though Gronkowski did park one high over the 325-foot wall in left field once.
Despite his success, Gronkowski said he didn’t enter the contest with a ton of his usual confidence.
“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking going out there,” he said after the victory. “It kind of felt like playing a football game going out there. I was nervous. I’m not used to swinging at all.”
And despite the fact that he’s a native son of Buffalo, there were plenty of Bills fans who weren’t happy to see him and let him know about it. Fortunately for Gronkowski though, he wasn’t affected by the boos in Buffalo the way Robinson Cano was in Kansas City.
“I heard the boos, but I think the cheers were a little bit louder than the boos,” he said. “It’s part of it and it was pretty fun.”
Bills fans certainly had enough reason to boo Gronkowski, as he caught 15 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns in the team’s two meetings with the Patriots last year. So it didn’t help that he defeated current Bills running back Fred Jackson and current Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta in the contest.
The field also included Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, former Bills GM Bill Polian, former Bills lineman and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure and writer/actor Nick Bakay.
While Gronkowski stood out among participants on Monday, don’t expect a Deion Sanders/Bo Jackson-esque career path for the 23-year-old.
“I was all right. When I was on the Little League, 12 years old and under, I was unstoppable,” he said. “But [after that] I was just an all right player, pretty good baseball player in high school and stuff. But nothing special, that’s why I stuck with football.”
Patriots fans are sure happy he did. Bills fans might prefer he stick with baseball.