The news broke less than an hour ago that Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez will now be a participant in the Home Run Derby that takes place on Monday night.
There was a lot, and I mean A LOT, of controversy over Alvarez not originally making it. I was angry, and you can see that by this article I wrote on Tuesday morning. There were a good amount of people who told me I needed to stop whining, but even more people who agreed with me.
I’m not going to get into the details on why I was angry, as you can see all of that in my most recent article, but David Wright was wrong in his picks for the Home Run Derby. The original four participants were Wright, Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, and Michael Cuddyer. I disagreed with Wright, Cuddyer, and Harper being in it, and agreed with CarGo making it.
ROOT Sports strongly agreed with myself and a lot of Pirate Nation, as you can see in this video, where Greg Brown and Bob Walk go on for roughly seven minutes about how Wright and the MLB screwed up not picking Alvarez.
Around 5 P.M. on Thursday the news was sent around that Alvarez would replace Gonzalez in the Derby due to injuries. All Pirate fans were instantly relieved, and everyone is now pumped to see Alvarez participate. Some fans think that Wright is off the hook now, but in my opinion, he’s still going to get heavily booed this weekend.
I’m not sure how much I agree with him being booed now that he came to his senses and added Alvarez, but there’s still a little bit of reason for when everyone hears him get booed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The main reason is that he still passed up on Alvarez originally, and if it weren’t for the strong support of Alvarez by Pittsburgh fans, media, and broadcasters, Wright may have looked elsewhere when it came to replacing Gonzalez. He could have chosen Paul Goldschmidt, or Dominic Brown, but elected to go with Alvarez because he might have realized how fired up the city of Pittsburgh was when they saw that he chose his buddy (Cuddyer) over him.
Personally, I can’t wait to see El Toro on Monday night. He’s got more raw power than any other player in the MLB, and it will be displayed on a national spotlight when the Home Run Derby is held on ESPN. Alvarez is from New York, which makes this so much more special to him, now that he can put on a show in front of his hometown.
For those who are scared that he is going to screw up his swing in the Derby: save it. There’s very few things in baseball that are more overrated than the whole “Home Run Derby ruins swings” theory. Andrew McCutchen might not be putting up the power numbers he did in 2012, but I’m certain when I say that him participating in the Home Run Derby last season was not the reason for his decline in home runs.
Fun fact: Alvarez has three home runs this season that have traveled over 440 feet. None of the other seven participants have more than one that have traveled that far. Just another reason as to why baseball fans wanted to see Alvarez in the Derby.
I don’t care whether or not Alvarez wins the thing, I’m just glad he’s going to be participating in it now. He’s just as deserving as any other participant, and if he were to have not been added by Wright, it would have been one of the bigger snubs in recent memory. If he wins it, that’d be awesome, and would really make this season that much more memorable for the Pirates franchise. People can call me a crybaby all they want, but at least I was whining about something that made sense and was best for the MLB.