The D-Backs beat the Padres 3-1 Saturday night but it was no thanks to an astute San Diego fan down the right field line. That Padres fan really had his head in the game because he knew he was saving his team an out. Sadly for him, the San Diego offense is too pathetic to cobble together more than a run. At least he didn’t get shamed out of the park like the Ichiro impersonator. Given how hardcore Diamondbacks fans have proven to be, that comes as quite a surprise.
The 2011 Home Run Derby was pretty enjoyable, but there was one key element missing from the competition: Justin Upton. The young Diamondbacks outfielder is a reserve for the NL All-Star team but was left off the Home Run Derby team despite wanting to participate. For the first time, the Home Run Derby selected team captains from each League and allowed them to choose their teammates.
Prince Fielder was the captain of the NL squad and he chose Matt Kemp, Matt Holliday, and teammate Rickie Weeks to participate. Holliday only has 12 home runs on the season compared to Upton’s 15, so one could argue that was a stretch. But Diamondbacks fans were more upset that Fielder showed favoritism by picking Weeks, who is not known as a power hitter (though he does have 17 this season).
Arizona fans, who as we learned are much more hardcore than we ever thought, let Prince and Weeks hear it with boos. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says fans booed Prince during afternoon batting practice and throughout the Derby.
Weeks also was booed throughout the Derby. He didn’t know why he was being booed, and he didn’t care for it. “You don’t want anybody booing you,” said Weeks. “I didn’t know what it was about at first. I guess I understand. It is what it is.”
As I said, Diamondbacks fans are much more hardcore than we ever thought, and this is just one more example. But they have a right to be upset. The Home Run Derby is a time to showcase some of the best power hitters in the game. Upton hits some of the longest home runs in baseball. With the game being played at Chase Field, he was a natural fit. Prince and MLB blew it with this one and the boos make sense.
This year’s MLB All-Star Game will be played at Chase Field in Arizona, home of the Diamondbacks. While the captains for the Home Run Derby teams have already been selected (whatever the heck that means), the rest of the rosters have yet to be determined. So who will join Prince Fielder and David Ortiz in the Derby in two weeks? Home town favorite Justin Upton would love to be a part. The youngster who infrequently updates his twitter account posted this note Thursday evening:
With so many athletes who whine that the derby messes with their swing, it’s great to see an athlete who wants to participate to entertain the fans. And you know what? Upton would be the perfect addition.
Justin has hit the second-longest home run of the season, a 478-foot blast at home. He routinely hits some of the farthest home runs we’ve seen this year, right up there with Prince Fielder and Mark Trumbo. According to ESPN’s Hit Tracker, Upton has clubbed four of the longest 22 home runs of the season, far more than anyone else in that top group.
Though it’s a different sport, we saw what happened when a top youngster participated in the Slam Dunk Competition at NBA All-Star weekend and how exciting that was. Justin Upton could add a similar spice to the MLB game.