Last week, we talked about how San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner wanted to participate in the Home Run Derby this year, but his manager Bruce Bochy won’t let him. Since then, more major league pitchers have come forward, expressing their interest in wanting to compete in the Home Run Derby. And they’re not no-name pitchers, either. These are fellow aces like Jake Arrieta who want to get in on the action:
“If he’s in it, I need to be in it,” Arrieta said after earning his 10th win and collecting two hits in Saturday’s 8-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. “That’s for sure. He can hit the ball a long way, but I can too.”
The difference between the two pitchers: Arrieta might be better suited for a pitchers-only derby, whereas Bumgarner wants to join the main event. Either way, Arrieta isn’t kidding around. He says participating in a derby would be the greatest “adrenaline rush.”
“I think it would be mentally and physically draining but a really fun experience,” Arrieta said.
Not to be outdone by Bumgarner and Arrieta, St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who hasn’t been very ace-like this year, also expressed his interest in participating in the home run derby.
Noah Syndergaard is the only pitcher in the MLB this year with a multi-homer game, and it sounds like he’s in favor of a pitchers only Home Run Derby. But the Mets pitcher he wants to see in the derby isn’t himself — it’s Bartolo Colon.
All of this interest in pitcher participation during the Home Run Derby led to Buster Olney dropping this little nugget:
“There’s actually been talk about the idea of a pitcher challenge-type Home Run Derby,” he said, “where maybe that Madison Bumgarner faces Noah Syndergaard of the Mets.”
Originally, when Bumgarner said he wanted to participate in the Home Run Derby, I was 100% with Bochy. It’s too much of a risk, and I wouldn’t want to see my ace pitcher get hurt trying to crush 450-foot home runs for three hours straight. It just doesn’t make any sense to green light something like that, especially when your team has a realistic shot at making the postseason. But I’ve gotta admit — this idea intrigues me.
I still wouldn’t let my pitcher do it, but it most certainly piques my interest. If you have Bumgarner saying that he wants to participate in the Home Run Derby with all the big-name baseball-mashers in the MLB, it’s highly unlikely that he’d win it, so it’s like, what’s the point? The risk isn’t worth the reward there at all. But if you have a separate event just for pitchers, who wouldn’t want to see that? It’d be entertaining as hell, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon feels the same way.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Sunday said an all-pitchers derby “might be more interesting than the regular one” and that he wasn’t worried about a pitcher being hurt by participating.
“Everybody is afraid of injuries. Everyone is afraid everyone is going to get hurt every day,” Maddon said. “I don’t subscribe to that theory and don’t worry about it from that perspective.”
Arrieta also dismissed any injury concerns Sunday.
“We hit in the cage every day. We hit on the field every day at home,” he said. “It’s not like we don’t swing. What’s it going to do, mess up my swing?”
The man’s got a point. Again, I’d still be terrified to let my ace pitcher participate in such an event — and I probably wouldn’t let him — but you can’t say that fans wouldn’t want to see something like that. It’d be highly entertaining, that is, until someone actually does get hurt doing it, then no team will ever want one of their pitchers to participate ever again, and then the event will cease to exist. But until that happens, I’d like to see it.