Apparently looking to add some interest for the Home Run Derby festivities, MLB today announced David Ortiz and Prince Fielder as captains for the event to be held the Monday before the All-Star Game.
Ortiz, the 2010 champion, and Fielder, the 2009 champ, will each get to pick their three teammates for the contest. Not limited to only selecting fellow All-Stars, Ortiz can choose anyone in the AL and Fielder anyone in the NL.
Whether it makes for a better Derby or not, the act of choosing should create more interest leading up to the event. It seems like a given that Ortiz will pick Jose Bautista as a teammate, leaving him two spots for Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera or perhaps Red Sox teammate Adrian Gonzalez . But what about Josh Hamilton? Or maybe he could irk Teixeira by picking Curtis Granderson instead?
Will Fielder call on Mike Stanton even though the 21-year-old slugger probably won’t make the All-Star roster? Matt Kemp seems likely to get one spot, but no one else stands out. Stanton is certainly as promising a choice as any.
In any event, MLB actually has me thinking about the Home Run Derby for the first time in several years. So, I guess that makes this a pretty good idea.
Ichiro wore a fake mustache to sneak into the Mariners’ dugout
Ichiro Suzuki is now a Mariners employee and, as such, he’s not allowed to sit in the dugout during a game. That’s for coaches and players only.
He knows that, too. Indeed, on the day Ichiro announced his sorta-retirement, he talked about how it was going to be hard not to be down on the field with the other players. He even made a ridiculous joke about how, “[he] can’t say for certain that maybe [he] won’t put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout.”
In related news, this mysterious stranger was seen by an Associated Press photographer in the Mariners dugout during the first couple of innings of the M’s-Yankees game:
No beard, but I guess that joke was not very ridiculous after all. Either way, by the end of the second inning — poof — he was gone.
Obviously, when something interesting like this happens you mustache an expert for their opinion on the matter. To that end, the Associated Press reached Bobby Valentine, who famously did the same thing after an ejection way back in 1999, for comment:
“He was perfect. I never would have known it was him.”
Valentine was suspended for two games and fined $5,000. I’m assuming Ichiro won’t get hit quite as hard given that he wasn’t defying an umpire’s authority, but even if he does have to pay a fine, he’ll likely do so willingly.