Heyman | MLB hopes Harper will join HR Derby
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.
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June 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm
Judge and Stanton didn’t Duel each other.