Josh Hamilton announced that he will not be participating in this year’s Home Run Derby. Hopefully he doesn’t start a trend.
Not only is Hamilton the major league leader in homers with 21, but he set the single-round derby record with 28 big flys at Yankee Stadium in 2008. That one unbelievable night basically made him the Michael Jordan of the Home Run Derby.
Without the Texas Rangers‘ star slugger, the contest isn’t completely ruined, but it certainly loses much of its appeal.
I’ll admit it, I’m not the hugest Home Run Derby fan, but even I would have been glued to the TV to watch Hamilton mash taters at Kaufman Stadium. I’m sure there will still be plenty of big names that do participate, but could we see a trend of star sluggers opting to skip the derby?
That’s what happened to the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest. It used to be some of the best players in basketball would participate in the dunk contest, this year the contestants included Jeremy Evans, Chase Budinger, Paul George and Derrick Williams.
Not exactly a bunch of household names.
Imagine if the Home Run Derby boiled down to Mark Trumbo, Dayan Viciedo, Bryan LaHair and Justin Smoak. No offense to those guys, but it just wouldn’t be the same.
It‘s hard to question Hamilton‘s decision to skip the event, as the 31-year-old has struggled with injuries over his career. He has an obligation to his team to do everything he can to stay on the field, and a big season will help the free agent to be secure a better contract this winter.
His manager sure is happy about Hamilton’s decision. Here’s what Ron Washington had to say:
“I didn’t help him with the decision. But when he told me I was very, very happy he’s not doing it. He has so much torque in his swing. If he swings and misses, he could get hurt. And if he’s hurt, we’re hurt.”
The home run derby has been an All-Star Game tradition since 1985, and often outshines the game itself. This year’s contest takes place July 9 in Kansas City.
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