Olney: How the elite eight are preparing for the Home Run Derby

As a kid, Pete Alonso's bedtime in the summer was 9 p.m., as he recalls, but every so often, his parents would let him stay up late, and one of those special nights was on the Monday of baseball's All-Star break.

This is how he devoured the Home Run Derby annually, and what he saw on those nights sticks like flypaper to Alonso's memory. Born in 1994, Alonso vividly remembers Sammy Sosa's power in 2002, when Sosa pelted Bernie Brewer's slide. The barrage of home runs that Josh Hamilton generated in 2008, Alonso believes, has to be the greatest round of batting practice ever. Even if Todd Frazier weren't his teammate, Alonso says, he'd think what Frazier and his brother Charlie accomplished in the first timed Derby, in 2015 in Cincinnati, was incredible.

"It's something I've always had a big interest in," he said over the phone Friday. "I'm just a baseball junkie, so to be a part of it and experience it firsthand is going to be a dream come true.

"Everything I've had this year -- the All-Star [selection], the Derby -- is like a fantasy land."

Alonso, who will face the Indians' Carlos Santana in the first round of Monday's Derby, has had the benefit of exceptional counsel because three of his teammates have won the event -- Yoenis Cespedes, Robinson Cano and Frazier -- and he has soaked up their advice.

But each of the eight competitors this year has his own sources of information, the pitcher of his choice, his own strategy and perceived advantages. Here's a look at the background, particulars and thoughts of the Home Run Derby entrants: