Should the Yankees allow Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez to participate in the pre All-Star Game “Home Run Derby” next Monday night? Lets face it, this is the most popular event of the All-Star week and is usually a hard ticket to get. Major League baseball will promote it big time. It is their way of showing off the biggest thing in baseball. The one thing everyone has come to games to see going back to Babe Ruth. Home runs. They are the single most amazing thing to watch at a game. There is something about the crack of the bat and the majestic flight of the ball as it leaves the playing field that nothing else can equal. Lets face it, no one is going to pack a ballpark to watch Billy Hamilton run the bases for stat cast Monday night. Missing from this years event will be Chris Berman with his iconic call of: “Back,back,back,back,back “ gone forever. I could never fathom him saying, “Fast, fast, fast, fast, fast.” New broadcaster of the event will be Karl Ravech. Good luck replacing Breman.
The most important think Baseball wants to show, is Judge, Sanchez and the Dodgers Cody Bellinger participating in this show. They see it as being good for baseball as a whole. It will get the next crop of young fans excited. They will see and feel the excitement at home with their Dads. They will know that these young stars will be there for them to be amazed by into their adulthood. Many of these young 7 to 14 year olds will get hooked like so many of us did many moons ago. There are worse things to get hooked on. The first derby was in 1985 with Dave Parker hitting a whopping 6 to win the title. Defending champ Giancarlo Stanton last year hit 61. He will have the luxury of participating in his home ballpark and for the first time, he will not be the biggest hitter there. Even if it is only by an inch and a a few pounds. Well, maybe more than a few pounds.
So why should the Yankees or the Dodgers even think of keeping their future stars out of this mega event? Why would they not want to showcase the whole thing for their own fans back home? We have all heard about the effect that this swing for the fences has had on past participants. How they can develop something in their swing that will throw them off for the rest of the season and possibly beyond. How it could mess with their approach to every at bat in the future. Yes there have been players who did fall into that trap after they were a part of this wild night. Players have been hurt in the past and were never quite the same after that. The list of those who had negative effects from the Derby is larger than those who it never bothered.
That’s a pressure call for teams. They have so much invested in these players and still have half a season to go. The Dodgers and the Yankees are looking at good chances to make the playoffs and beyond. Do you succumb to the pressure of the entertainment part of the sport, for baseball’s sake? Or do you save yourself for the real season? The truth is, these guys are extremely competitive athletes and always look for the next big challenge. I would be shocked if there was even one who has this opportunity, that would say no to being a part of the grand stage and main attraction of the All-Star game week. If a team kept a player from participating or worse, if he chose not to be in the Derby. Fans would be disappointed, but the lasting effect on the perception of the fans of a prima donna, would last forever. Fans have long memories.
I expect Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, Bellinger and many others to be in it and “Be in it to win it!”