Rob Gronkowski sent a message to the NFL on Monday night: His high ankle sprain is doing just fine.
Gronkowski turned on 12 home runs in the two rounds of a celebrity home run derby at Coca-Coca Field in Buffalo, N.Y. before the Triple-A Home Run Derby. Hitting toward a fence midway through the outfield, Gronkowski belted four first-round bombs and eight second-round jacks. One of the home runs cleared the actual 325-foot left field fence (reportedly a 400-foot shot), so in a way, Gronkowski defeated Robinson Cano.
Other competitiors included actor Nick Bakay, Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson, Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and Bills CEO Russ Brandon.
Although no competitor other than the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Gronkowski hit more than one home run in the first round, Brandon pushed the tight end to the limit in the final stage. The CEO, a Hall of Fame baseball player at St. John Fisher College, hit seven home runs in the second round, falling just short of Gronk's eight.
Gronkowski, a nearby Williamsville, N.Y. native received an unfavorable welcome made up of mostly Bills fans. However, unlike Cano, Gronkowski did not let the boos get to him.
WIVB-TV of Buffalo has footage of Grokowski's shot that cleared the actual left field fence as part of its coverage from the event:
Valentino Pascucci, a 6-foot-6 journeyman in the Mets organization, won the Triple-A derby. "He's a big dude and he was bombing them 400 plus over the net," Gronkowski told The Buffalo News. "That was cool to see."