El Toro’s in!
No doubt Mr. Wright feared the mighty wrath of the Pirate fans in choosing Alvarez to replace Gonzalez, instead of Philadelphia Phillies’ Domonic Brown for the newly opened spot on the 2013 MLB Home Run Derby roster. Brown, whose 23 home runs equal Alvarez’s total, doesn’t have the added incentive of having Wright’s team, the New York Mets, come to town this week. The stars were aligned for Pedro though, as the Mets are in Pittsburgh tomorrow night for three games and Wright would have had to endure at least 12 boo-’n-hiss-filled plates appearances in the series had he passed over Pedro again. No doubt a second snub would have “endeared” him even more to the PNC crowds this weekend.
Alvarez is just as deserving as anyone though, as his 23 homeruns before the All-Star break put him in some pretty good company. The only other Pirates ever to have 23 or more homers before the All-Star break are Hall-of-Famers Ralph Kiner and Willie Stargell. Not bad company for the 26 year-old from Santa Domingo, DR who grew up in Manhattan. In addition, his at-bats per home run ratio this season is 12.7, tops in the NL.
Pedro will join Bobby Bonilla (1990), Barry Bonds (1992), Jason Bay (1995) and Andrew McCutchen (2012) as the only other Pirates to participate in the Home Run Derby. No Pirate has ever won the contest.