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Mike Schmidt makes public statement regarding the Odubel Herrera controversy

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Phillies broadcaster Mike Schmidt criticizing outfielder Odubel Herrera, saying that the 2016 All-Star can’t be a team leader because of the “language barrier.” Understandably, Schmidt received criticism for his comment, made during an appearance on local sports radio.

Schmidt called Herrera personally to apologize, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. And Schmidt made a statement to the public, as CSN Philly’s John Clark reports:

It’s been made known to me that my answer on a radio interview this morning to the question, “can the Phillies build a team around Odubel Herrera” was disrespectful to Herrera and Latin players in general. I’m very sorry that his misrepresentation of my answer occurred and may have offended someone. I assure everyone I had no intention of that. Odubel is a dynamo on the field, and as he becomes more comfortable with the language, his leadership skills will improve, and no doubt he will be a centerpiece in the Phillies future.

This is not exactly an example of a good apology. Schmidt starts off with, “It’s been made known to me,” which shows us that he still doesn’t see the issue with what he said; rather, he’s going by other people’s reactions to it. A good apology would include recognition of the issue and accepting responsibility.

Schmidt wasn’t taken out of context, either. He was asked if Herrera was a player the Phillies could build around, and the outfielder’s ability — or perceived lack thereof — to communicate was an important factor to Schmidt.

Later, he refers to the blowback as a “misrepresentation of my answer,” which shifts blame from him saying something problematic to other people. Schmidt then says that that misrepresentation “may have offended someone.” So not only are other people at fault for misinterpreting what he said, but they’re also wrong for being offended by it.

Lastly, Schmidt says that Herrera’s leadership will improve “as he becomes more comfortable with the language,” which is basically restating what he said on the radio that got him into trouble in the first place. While Herrera isn’t 100 percent fluent in English, he speaks enough of it to get by, just like thousands of other players who have played the sport. Some of those, like David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre, have become the leaders of their teams. One need not have English as a first language to become a leader.

Clark also reported Herrera’s response. “I don’t agree with his comments. It’s disappointing,” Herrera said.

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.