Bautista Snubbed for Home Run Derby
Sunday, July 11, 2010 | by Ian Hunter
Among the rest of the BAS collective, I was shocked to learn that Nick Swisher from the New York Yankees had been selected as the final participant for MLB's Home Run Derby over MLB's home run leader, Jose Bautista.
Initially I thought Jose had been overlooked because he turned down the invitation to sock some dingers in the derby. However, Bautista didn't get the chance to say no because he was actually never asked in the first place.
Then I assumed that MLB didn't want to have two participants competing from the same team, in order to spread things out across as many teams as possible. But that theory went out the window once I discovered they have in fact had two people from the same team hit in Home Run Derbys past.
So why the snub for Jose Bautista? My theory is that Bud Selig needs to get someone from the World Champion New York Yankees in there to help boost the ratings since the Yankees and the Red Sox are the cash cows of the league.
They probably assumed baseball fans would much rather watch a "household name" like Nick Swisher attempt to hit home runs rather than someone who has already hit 24 in the first half of the season.
Bautista's Home Run Derby snub also upsets me because as I stated last week in the Trade Bait post, the Derby could have been Jose Bautista's coming out party. I think most people who follow baseball are now aware of his power, but by being on display at the Home Run Derby, Bautista could have garnered him that name brand recognition he's been looking for his entire career.
While he may not have necessarily increased his trade value by performing well at the Home Run Derby, Jose Bautista certainly would've made some more people take notice.
It just seems like a very poor decision to not have the player who has the most home runs out of anybody to not be participating in contest to hit home runs. That's like having someone other than David Price starting the game for the American League team.
Some might argue that a relative unknown like Jose Bautista in the Home Run Derby doesn't make for good television. I beg to differ: doesn't that make for an even more compelling storyline because Bautista is a career journeyman finally having success with a full-time position?
Since it's really out of Jose Bautista's hands at this point, I hope Vernon Wells does what some folks on Twitted suggested he should do, and hand the bat over to Jose at the Home Run Derby. Not only would it make for great television, but it would basically be a giant middle finger to Bud Selig and Major League Baseball for having snubbed him in the first place.
I realize I might be making a mountain out of a molehill here, but it's just the principal behind this decision that I can't let go of. It's very simple: someone who currently is better than anybody else at hitting home runs should be participating in the Home Run Derby, no question.
I don't know why MLB can't wrap their heads around that concept. And you know what? It's their loss. Jose Bautista could have hit some huge home runs at Angel Stadium, but now they'll never know what it's like to see those Bautista Bombs in person.