Quote of the Day: Bud Selig

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“Hank Aaron told me, ‘We never got out of the batter’s box.’ And Joe
Torre told me the same thing. You watch guys now. They’re in the
batter’s box and it’s ball one. Then they get out and they’re adjusting
everything. I said to the committee, ‘What are they adjusting? They
didn’t swing.'”

Commissioner Bud Selig in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, discussing the pace of the game. He added “We live in a fast-paced society. The game ought to be played the way
it’s always been played. You watch a 2-1 game and that ought not to take
3 hours and 4 minutes.”  I can’t argue with that. I also can’t argue with the fact that it’s much better to hear this from the Commissioner of Baseball than from some loose cannon umpire.

One question, though: does Selig really need to name-check Aaron and Torre on this? Bud’s been around a while so I’m sure he knows that guys didn’t use to step out all the time. Heck, they didn’t do it even 20 years ago.  At the risk of totally irresponsible armchair psychology — my favorite kind, by the way — this quote is a window into Selig’s insecurity. He’s the freakin’ head honcho of baseball, but he doesn’t feel confident enough in his role to simply state something obvious with authority. Instead, he invokes the names of two guys who he believes have much more weight and credibility than he himself does, likely believing on some level that his opinion wouldn’t matter otherwise.

Such behavior creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bud hasn’t taken many strong stands on his own. Instead, he has let public opinion dictate the courses he takes. This is just the latest example.

Bryce Harper defeats Kyle Schwarber 19-18 to win the 2018 Home Run Derby

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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.