I look forward to the Home Run Derby every year. All baseball fans do, as it provides a plethora of longballs and excitement. Much hype has gone into promoting the 2017 HR Derby, and the majority of that is centered around every fan’s dream matchup in the finals, which would pit defending champion and hometown hero Giancarlo Stanton, going up against the young phenom from the New York Yankees, Aaron Judge.
It’s not going to happen.
I’m sorry to break it to you in such a harsh fashion, but it is true. Think about it. The likelihood of both of these players reaching the finals is less than great. Plus, while the big names are always the main attraction, they certainly don’t always come out on top. How often do the top two names in the competition meet in the finals?
Granted, to make for an exciting Home Run Derby, the biggest names do not have to meet in the finals, nor do they have to win to make it memorable. In fact, many people do not remember who won some of the more compelling Derby’s in history. Josh Hamilton did not win the year he set Yankee Stadium on fire. When Mark McGwire put on a show in Fenway Park in 1999, he didn’t even make it to the finals. So, while Stanton and Judge do not have to meet in the finals of the 2017 Home Run Derby to make this one for the ages, I just feel like the focus centered around these two players is setting us all up for disappointment.
Stanton is the favorite, even over Judge, as he is the defending champ. But even after thee two, while the other six may not be getting much attention, any of them could walk away with the title. Cody Bellinger is having a phenomenal season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but will face some very stiff competition from Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies. In another quarterfinal matchup, Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins will look to show the world his raw power when he faces Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals. And then you have the two favorites, who will not face slouches in their first round matchup, with Stanton taking on Yankees’ backstop Gar Sanches, and Judge going up against the Marlins’ first baseman, Justin Bour.
Look, unless one of your favorite players happens to be Bellinger, Blackmon, Sano, Moustakas, Sanchez or Bour, we all want to see Stanton vs. Judge in the finals. It is what Major League Baseball wants as well. I just don’t think that it will happen.
Plus, if we are honest with our selves, shouldn’t we be talking about the biggest reason that the 2017 Home Run Derby will be a disappointment? Why did MLB and ESPN not reach out to Hank Azaria to have him play his role of Brockmire character and announce the competition? That would have been great!