This All Star break has been very eventful for just about everyone. Whether it be a scandal about tweets that resurfaced after ten years, cheating in the Home Run Derby or a blockbuster trade, if you’re a fan of baseball, this week has been interesting for you!
With all of these things happening, it’s hard to pick a starting point of what to talk about first. Let’s just go in order of what happened this week.
Monday night, the Home Run Derby. One of the coolest events in baseball and one that no doubt sells out faster than they can issue tickets, the Home Run Derby is similar to the NBA Slam Dunk Contest or the NFL Pro Bowl Skills Contest that they have. In the Home Run Derby, there are eight participants from around the league that are hand picked by MLB. Unfortunately, and for some odd reason, MLB hardly picks the players that lead the league in Home Runs. So for this year, no J.D. Martinez, no Jose Ramirez, no Nolan Arenado and no Mike Trout. Luckily, they did pick some players that have a lot of Home Run’s this year: Jesus Aguilar, Max Muncy and Bryce Harper. MLB usually throws in some odd ball participants as well, such as Alex Bregman from the Houston Astros and Javy Baez from the Chicago Cubs. Bregman, was the only player from the American League to participate in the Home Run Derby this year.
The Derby was exciting, Schwarber, Hoskins and Harper all put on a awesome show. You could even throw Max Muncy in there as well. After many majestic Home Run’s, when the smoke cleared there was only two left standing for the final round, Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper. Schwarber racked up an impressive EIGHTEEN Home Run’s in the final round which would put his total up for the derby at 55!
Seems like quite the cushion for the final round, right? No. This is where the controversy comes in and ruins the moment. In the Home Run Derby, each ball you hit must touch the ground before another pitch can be thrown to you. Bryce Harper and his dad didn’t seem to care for that rule too much. In the final minute of Harper’s round and losing by nine Home Run’s, his dad started throwing pitch after pitch regardless if they had hit the ground or not. With that being said, Harper quickly tied Schwarber and also earned a thirty second bonus round. Which is where Harper crushed his nineteenth Home Run of the round to seal the deal and win the derby.
Is it really that big of a deal? According to a lot of Cubs fans who were “cheated” out of another trophy, it is. But does Kyle Schwarber care or think something eery is happening? NO. It’s the Home Run Derby not the World Series, calm down Cubs fans. Anyways, Bryce Harper is only the third player to win the Home Run Derby in his home park. The other two players being Todd Frazier (2015) and Ryne Sandberg (1990). Yippee!
Tuesday night, the All Star Game. The All Star Game was slightly overshadowed by Manny Machado rumors. Throughout the entire day, multiple rumors were surfacing that Machado had been traded already but the team was unknown and the announcement wouldn’t come until after the All Star Game. The unknown team wasn’t all that unknown, many reporters and MLB insiders were saying that it was the Dodgers that had indeed made the trade. But, this is about the All Star Game.
This All Star Game was an absolute Slug fest. A Major League record TEN Home Run’s were hit this year in the game. The previous record was six. Aaron Judge homered off of Max Scherzer, Mike Trout homered off of Jacob Degrom, Willson Contreras homered off of Blake Snell, you know what I’m getting at. No pitcher was safe during this game no matter how good they were. What seemed to be the crushing blow in the top of the eighth was a 3-Run Home Run that Josh Hader gave up to Jean Segura. By the way, keep the name Josh Hader in your mind for a bit, I’ll mention what happened to him after the game. The game went on and the National League slowly chipped away at the lead with Christian Yelich homering off of Charlie Morton. Then in the bottom of the ninth, Scooter Gennett homered to tie the game!
We finally get to the dreadful top of the tenth inning where Dodger fans saw something that was too familiar to them. Ross Stripling was pitching the top of the tenth against Houston Astro, Alex Bregman, who immediately sent a Home Run to Center Field. Following Bregman’s Home Run, fellow Astro, George Springer, hit another Home Run. Of all things that could have happened on this night, it just had to be a Dodger pitcher allowing Back-to-Back Home Run’s to Astros players. The National League would lose the game by a score of 8-6 with Ross Stripling being the losing pitcher.
After the game, Josh Hader’s night was about to take a wild turn. Someone scrolled all the way down his Twitter, going back SEVEN years and found a handful of tweets that could jeopardize his career. The tweets were “racist” and “homophobic” but the majority of people are seeing past that and noticing that most of, not all, of the tweets were either song lyrics or quotes from movies. Regardless, I guess Hader should’ve taken precautionary measures to make sure these tweets would never be pulled up down the line. Except we live in a digital age where everything you tweet can be found somewhere. They couldn’t suspend him because the tweets were made before he was even drafted by a Major League team and was only around the age of seventeen or eighteen. MLB has since made Josh Hader undergo “sensitivity training”…*rolls eyes*
As Wednesday rolled around, the news of a major blockbuster trade was starting to surface. Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles had been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for FIVE prospects. Dodger fans rejoiced and teams who had hoped to land the superstar shortstop immediately took to Instagram to show their disappointment. Brewer fans and Phillies fans were both upset to see that their teams hadn’t pulled the trigger on the trade.
The main phrase on Instagram comment sections was, “Dodgers gave up their entire farm system for a two month rental”. This was just a overused recycled quote that people copy and pasted from someone else because they don’t actually know what they’re talking about.
Yes, the Dodgers gave up more prospects than you’d normally see but, only one of those prospects was a Top 10 in the Dodgers farm system and was the only prospect in the deal that was in the MLB Top 100. The rest of the prospects were around the single or High Single A level that weren’t going to see playing time for MULTIPLE years. Let’s face it, the Dodgers have one of the best farm systems in baseball but have nowhere for some of these players to go. They have multiple players that are Major League ready but have nowhere to play them and won’t have a spot for them for many years. It’s not fair to the players to keep them in the minor leagues forever when they can be traded and play on a Major League team instantly. Obviously, there are a handful of players you wouldn’t want to trade, Walker Buehler and DJ Peters being a couple, but a lot of other players are expendable. Including Alex Verdugo.
Manny Machado will make his Dodgers debut tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers and will be playing shortstop. It’s a nice feeling being right about trades, isn’t it? Earlier this season I wrote a post talking about the loss of Corey Seager and how Machado is the only player that could realistically replace him. Fast forward about four months and here I am sitting with a big smile on my face knowing that the Dodgers pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade. Now, this could all come back and bite me in the butt if something goes wrong but hey, right now, I’m a happy camper!
Mannywood 2.0 is here for the rest of the season and let’s see where he takes us. Hopefully, with the addition of bullpen help, this team reaches the World Series for the second straight season. Only this time, the outcome will be different!