A lot of you responded to the Peter Gammons news yesterday by saying something like “Good! Now that Boston homer can do his Boston homer stuff!” Well, you’re not 100% wrong. Gammons, speaking to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:
“A big part of it is that I just want to be home more . . . it’s very much a lifestyle thing . . . I grew up a New Englander, and I want to be part of my hometown. I
still live in Boston. I’m a part of my community, and I want to
continue to be part of my community.”
Presumably he’ll get the Boston stuff out of his system with the NESN part of his new life and will continue to be more of a generalist at MLB.com and MLB Network. Oh, and about those suggestions that ESPN-fatigue had something to do with it?
“A lot of people said to me today, ‘You know, you must have negative
feelings about ESPN.’ That’s so far from the reality. Some of the best friends I have ever had are there. The people from
ESPN were tremendous, and I truly loved working with them.'”
Gammons is a classy guy so he’d say that even if he left in a storm of acrimony, but I’ve heard nothing since yesterday to suggest he isn’t being straight up here.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.