HardballTalk 2017 Home Run Derby Predictions

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The Home Run Derby will be broadcast tonight at 8 PM ET on ESPN. It’s chock full of the game’s best sluggers, including defending champion Giancarlo Stanton who’ll try to repeat at his home park in Miami.

Here are the matchups with each player’s seed included in parentheses:

As we did last year, Craig, Ashley, and I have peered into our crystal ball to tell you exactly what’s going to happen tonight.

Craig

First Round

  • Sanchez upsets Stanton in the first round. UPSET OF THE CENTURY! Logan Morrison HANGS HIS HEAD IN SHAME!
  • Sano beats Moustakas
  • Judge KILLS Bour
  • Bellinger beats Blackmon

Second Round

  • Sano beats Sanchez — Gary peaks early and gets exhausted
  • Judge beats Bellinger

Finals

  • Judge beats Sano, launching 1000 “the torch has been passed” columns. Then Stanton kills him next year and normalcy is returned.

Ashley

First Round

  • Stanton over Sanchez
  • Sano over Moustakas
  • Judge over Bour
  • Bellinger over Blackmon

Life works out just as you expect it will. The established slugger vs. rookie slugger narrative lives on, and Miguel Sano and Cody Bellinger play their supporting roles with grace and dignity.

Second Round

  • Sano over Stanton
  • Judge over Bellinger

Stanton falls short of glory, prompting the Marlins to turn off the home run machine. If Bigfoot can’t hit all of the dingers, no dingers shall be celebrated with colorful lights, leaping fish and Lisa Frank levels of spectacle. Aaron Judge soldiers on.

Finals

  • Judge over Sano

Judge beats Sano by one mammoth home run, but fails to clear 500 feet. The ghost of Joe DiMaggio demands his rookie home run title back and sentences Judge to the curse of all Yankee Home Run Derby champions: the inability to repeat.

Bill

First Round

  • Sanchez holds his own, making Logan Morrison eat crow, but ultimately falls a couple homers short and Stanton moves on
  • Sano advances past Moustakas and hits the most home runs of any player in the first round
  • Bour beats Judge somehow
  • Blackmon takes down Bellinger, who will have the fewest home runs in the first round

Second Round

  • Sano gets gassed from hitting so many homers and Stanton moves on to the finals
  • Blackmon doesn’t stop hitting homers, breezes past Bour

Finals

  •  Stanton narrowly edges Blackmon to repeat as Home Run Derby champion

Feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments. Should be a fun night.

Brewers reliever Josh Hader in hot water over racist, homophobic tweets from 2011-12

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Brewers reliever Josh Hader didn’t have a good night. He gave up four hits and a three-run homer to put the National League in a big hole in the All-Star Game. That’s the kind of thing that has to stick with you.

Oh, and he was also revealed to be a SUPER BIG racist, misogynist and homophobe. That’s gonna stick with him too, and may land him in trouble with Major League Baseball.

Someone decided to dig through Hader’s Twitter history this evening and when they did they found some ugly, ugly stuff in there from back in 2011-12.* Hader was found to have used the n-word, liberally. He said “I hate gay people.” He said some super misogynistic stuff about wanting a woman who will cook and clean for him, among other pretty damn vile things. There were multiple references to cocaine. He said “I’ll murder your family” to one person and made some total non-sequitur tweet simply saying “KKK.” You name a social media etiquette line that one can cross and Hader not only crossed it, but he totally and gleefully trampled over. If you want to see that vile stuff you can see it over at The Big Lead, which screen-capped it. I presume Hader has deleted them by now.

The news of Hader’s old, unearthed tweets bubbled out as the All-Star Game was going on, and reporters met Hader in the locker room right afterward for comment. Hader owned up to them — there was no “I was hacked” excuses offered here — saying that the tweets were a sign of immaturity when he was 17 years-old. He said he plans to apologize to his teammates, saying they don’t reflect on him as a person now. His quote: “No excuses. I was dumb and stupid.” Which, well, yes, obviously.

That may not be the end of it, however:

These tweets are old, Hader may be a different person now and people can do a lot of growing up between 17 and 24. But Major League Baseball is not happy tonight, I can assure you, that an ugly social media incident blew up during its biggest showcase of the regular season.

Will Hader be disciplined? Hard to say, given that Hader wasn’t even drafted yet when those tweets were made and given that MLB’s social media policy was not even in place then. But it would not shock me at all if more comes of this than Hader merely apologizing to his teammates. Stay tuned.

*There are several putative Hader tweets floating around Twitter right now of a more recent vintage. Hader has locked his account, however, and they cannot be confirmed, and many people who were able to access his account before it was locked said those tweets were not there before, with the suggestion that they were Photoshopped. We are neither in the position to — nor do we have the inclination to — verify which of Hader’s tweets are legitimate and which are fabricated. We know, however, that there is more than ample, awful stuff that he has owned up to and we’ll leave it at that for now.