This morning Buster Olney said — I think in response to a question a lot of us had, but were too respectful of the man’s decision to ask — that the A’s have no expectation that Grant Desme, the prospect who is
leaving baseball to become a priest, is going to change his mind.
I think Aaron covered most of the relevant angles on this the other day, but let me throw one more thought out there: the people who are saying “well, why couldn’t he have waited until after his baseball career was over to have done this?” don’t really have a handle on what becoming a priest really entails.
I’m not talking about the spiritual commitment here — I’m way out of my depth commenting on that. I’m referring to the academic commitment. The logistics and mechanics of seminary school. As the Columbus Dispatch’s Todd Jones* reported in a fabulous six-part series last summer, it is an extremely demanding undertaking. It certainly does not sound like the sort of thing one would be able to slide into easily after several years following some other pursuit.
Upshot: it’s more likely that Desme could wash out of seminary school as a result of its rigorous demands and get back into baseball than it would be for him to play out his baseball career and commit to seminary school.
*Jones is actually a sports reporter by trade, and a good one at that, so I’d be pretty interested to hear his take on all of this.
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.