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Heyman | MLB hopes Harper will join HR Derby

Jon Heyman



May 11, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper hits a home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball people are concerned about a potentially depleted Home Run Derby field this year, and would love Bryce Harper to participate in the All-Star event, which is in Washington next month.

But Harper has only once taken part in the event, and it may something of be a long shot – no pun intended. Sources say MLB has reached out to Harper about participating in the derby, but word is they have yet to put any pressure on him; Harper hasn’t committed one way or another, and he is said not to have made up his mind.

Beyond the DC angle, MLB also knows that T-Mobile, a big sponsor of the Derby, has a business arrangement with Harper (he does cute commercials for that company), so there could be a little extra reason for him to take the plunge.

Harper only participated once in the Derby, reaching the finals, only to fall to Yoenis Cespedes at Citi Field in 2013. Some players have concern about the Derby affecting their swing, and Harper, who hasn’t been at his best since a brilliant April, is a free agent after the year.

There is some concern in the league office this year that the field may not be as star-studded as usual, with some suggestions heard that Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton may not enter.

They are still hoping for Martinez, as well, though he was outspoken about his All-Star beliefs and wasn’t thrilled to be passed over for the derby in 2015.

Harper could go a long way toward saving the event, as he is obviously an iconic player in the D.C. area, and a home player always gives the event extra juice, as it did last year when Stanton performed at Marlins Park. Harper in the past has shown little to no interest in the event.

Many major stars are concerned that it could potentially throw off their swing, so to them it’s not worth the risk. Mike Trout, for one, has never participated in a Derby.

The event has grown in popularity in recent years, and MLB tries to get the biggest and best power hitters. Last year’s Judge-Stanton duel was riveting.

Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jk

    June 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Judge and Stanton didn’t Duel each other.

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