Here’s another story for all my readers. I’m on my way to PNC Park tonight. I decide to check my phone – at a red light, of course – and scroll through my Twitter timeline in the brief period. I see a lot of angry Pirate fans, and wonder why everyone is furious. I get to PNC, start my short walk to the greatest ballpark in America, and continue to read my Twitter timeline, trying to figure out why all these Pirate fans are angry.
I come across a tweet: Bryce Harper over Alvarez for the Home Run Derby? Are you kidding me?
I shortly realize that the Home Run Derby participants were released, and by the obviousness of that tweet, assume my favorite player Pedro Alvarez wasn’t picked. Man, was I an angry fan walking into PNC Park after reading the four participants. I go through the entrance, give a sarcastic laugh as I get metal-detected by PNC Park security (what a joke that is), and head for my seats.
I sit down at my seats, and like almost any other Pirate fan would, begin to fire away at Twitter my thoughts on the picks.
June 30, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) in the dugout against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports
David Wright as the captain? Seriously? Okay, I get it. The game is played at Citi Field. There should always be a hometown representative. Do I agree with that? No. Kind of like how I laugh at the whole “there should always be a hometown representative” when I think about how Justin Upton wasn’t a captain, let alone a participant, when the Derby was held at Chase Field in 2011. You know, the same year that Upton finished the season fourth in MVP voting and hit 31 homers.
In my opinion, Wright shouldn’t be in the Derby. Whether he’s a hometown player or not, I’m a firm believer in sending the four best power hitters in the National League out there and letting them put on a show. I quickly got over the fact that Wright was in it, but then started to get angry again when I looked at his picks.
Michael Cuddyer. Bryce Harper. Carlos Gonzalez.
Cuddyer in the Home Run Derby? Come on now. Wright said his main reason for picking Cuddyer was that they grew up together and that the two are very good friends. Are you kidding me? That’s cute, David. Hang out with him the whole break then, grab a beer with him after the game/derby, sit with him in dugout. Do something – ANYTHING – other than pick him for the Home Run Derby when there are a dozen other people around the National League who are more deserving.
He’s been in the league since 2001, and has one season with over thirty homers. When I think of Cuddyer, I think about a solid ballplayer. A respectable average, decent amount of runs driven in, average amount of home runs, and a guy who brings versatility, being able to play at a few different positions around the field. I don’t think of Cuddyer as a home run hitter, especially not Home Run Derby material. He’s putting together a nice season at the age of 34, and is deserving of a spot in the All-Star game, but did he earn his ticket to the Home Run Derby? Absolutely not.
May 16, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) on the bench prior to the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Next, we look at Harper. Unlike a lot of fans around the world of baseball, I can’t stand Harper. He’s a great player, I’ll give him that, but I get extremely annoyed when I look at his meltdowns on the field and cockiness he brings into the league as a 20-year old. Harper is starting in the All-Star game that takes place Tuesday night. I was already angry about that when I found that news out on Saturday afternoon, and when I saw that he will be in the Derby, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“But Drew! He hit a 500-foot home run and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year old! What did you do when you were sixteen years old?” Give me a break. He’s a phenom, and turning into one of the faces of the MLB, but this guy shouldn’t be in the Derby.
He’s missed a good bit of the season due to injuries, and is holding a mediocre average at .260. He’s hit 13 homers, the same amount as the “captain,” David Wright. He’s driven in 29 runs. The fan-vote will of course get him into every All-Star game the next ten years, and if it weren’t for a absurd voting system that the MLB uses, there’s no way Harper would be in the All-Star game, let alone the Home Run Derby.
Does he deserve to be an All-Star? No. Does he deserve to start the All-Star game in centerfield? No. Does he deserve to be in the Home Run Derby? No.
Gonzalez is deserving of his nod at the Home Run Derby. His 24 home runs rank him at the top of National League in that department. Congratulations, David, you got one right.
As for Alvarez, I didn’t think there was any question he belonged in the Derby. I wrote an article that was posted on Monday about how Pedro Alvarez deserved a standing ovation at PNC Park. In that article, I included this.
"He’s going to be playing at Citi Field on Tuesday, and if the MLB were smart, they would have him hitting in the Home Run Derby on Monday night. He should, without a doubt, be one of the four NL representatives, but that’s another opinion for another time."
Well here’s my opinion on that which was, as promised, for another time.
The man has 22 home runs, and is becoming known around the league for how far some of them travel. Watching Alvarez turn on a pitch and send it out of PNC Park has to be one of the best things to watch in the Major Leagues. If he were to have been picked as a Home Run Derby participant, he would have done the best out of the National League representatives. He would have had a serious case of winning the whole thing.
Alvarez wasn’t the only one to get snubbed out of this. Paul Goldschmidt, possibly the MVP of the National League thus far, has hit 21 homers, and will not be in it. Dominic Brown, another player making a real name for himself this season in the MLB, has 23 homers, and he had a serious chance of making it.
Wright has always been my favorite non-Pirate, and I’m serious when I say that. Ever since he came to PNC Park in 2006 and put on a show in the Home Run Derby – one that he deserved to make – he’s been my favorite player. I still like the guy, but he’s definitely lost some of my respect after his picks. He’s coming to PNC Park this weekend for a 3-game series, and I, along with the rest of Pirate Nation, are going to boo him until he can’t take it anymore.
You know what’s going to be awesome though? When Alvarez hits a couple of home runs this weekend and the crowd goes crazy as he runs past Wright, who will be kicking dirt and looking at the ground, as he ponders his decision of passing up on picking Alvarez to the Home Run Derby.
Even 2012 Cy Young winner, and former teammate of Pedro Alvarez at the University of Vanderbilt, David Price, agrees with me on this one.
A.J. Burnett is one of the main leaders of this Pirates team, and he displayed that with this tweet Monday afternoon.