Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier and commented on the inconsistency. After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job and that “he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined but not suspended. The lack of suspension caused the umpires to soil their collective diapers and launch a two-day protest against players being mean to them. What was not reported at the time, however, is that Kinsler’s fine was a significant one and not the mere slap on the wrist the umpires made it out to be. Buster Olney:
Yes, a player making $11 million as Kinsler is this year can afford that, but it’s still hefty fine for mere words. To say that it was some sort of injustice, as the umpires were basically saying in their protest, is simply silly.
In other news, in the event that Kinsler has spent his career earnings poorly and if, in fact, $10,000 will strap him, he will have some help in raising the money to pay Rob Manfred:
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.