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.