The Home Run Derby is a silly exhibition, nobody really cares about it, and it’s beneath this website to suggest there’s some sort of anti-Giants conspiracy. However, it’s probably not too farfetched to note there is definitely some sort of anti-Giants conspiracy when it comes to the players invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. The Giants have the longest participant drought in the National League, and it quietly bugs the heck out of me
A list of the last year each team sent a player to participate in the Home Run Derby:
The Royals have a much bigger reason to complain. However, they’re also the only team in baseball never to have a 40-home run hitter, so it’s probably their own danged fault. The Giants are clearly being punished by the shadow masters of Major League Baseball, and I have theories why this drought exists:
1. They haven’t had a lot of traditional power hitters since Barry Bonds left
As in, it’s been over a decade since they’ve had a 30-homer player. Which ... okay, this hurts the conspiracy angle, gimme a second.
2. Punishment for Bonds declining the 2007 Home Run Derby in San Francisco
Bonds was supposed to be the draw. He was supposed to be the hometown favorite, the reason people tuned in. But he said "nah" in a typically oblivious and Bondsian fashion, and the shadow masters responded with, "Well, then, nuts to you, and nuts to your entire organization."
I give Bonds a lot of leeway, of course. I’m a biased shill. But I’m still mad that he didn’t participate in that Derby.
We could have one of those, but from this century. And maybe the Giants would have been rewarded with a Derby participant over the last decade.
3. No, seriously, they haven’t had a lot of obvious Derby candidates
Not entirely convinced of this, as Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey would have been reasonable candidates, but, fine. Maybe this is just one of those things, and not something that requires a deeper explanation.
Besides, I wouldn’t want Posey in the Derby. I don’t buy into the myth that it messes with a hitter’s swing, but I also don’t think that Posey has a Derby-winning swing, so either he’d futz with it or go out in the first round. Neither one appeals to me.
4. Major League Baseball hates fun
Madison Bumgarner couldn’t participate because there was grumbling.
One reason MadBum in the HR Derby got shot down was backlash from hitters. "I don't think it would be a good idea," said Todd Frazier.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 11, 2016
Bunch of grumblepusses, the lot of you.
It’s not just Bumgarner, though. Why has Hunter Pence never been invited? I get this year, sure, but he’s been a batting practice legend for almost his entire career. Other players have concurred for years. He would clearly be one of the more entertaining possibilities available to MLB.
As is, it’s almost like the powers that be forget that AT&T Park affects raw home run totals and pigeonholes Pence into a category with all the other 20-homer outfielders.
5. The powers that be forget that AT&T Park affects raw home run totals
Pretty much. I don’t know if Buster Posey would have 35 homers in Fenway, but I’m willing to hint as much without supporting evidence because I want to believe it.
6. Look, the Giants have had just ten 20-homer seasons since Bonds retired. Get some better power hitters or let it go
That’s just rude, and ... wait, just 10?
Well, I’ll be. That does put things into perspective a little. Though I’m still annoyed as a fan, if only because it’s my right, and because I secretly had my heart set on Bumgarner this year.
Next year is when Pence stays healthy and the drought ends. That’s just a guess, and even though it was the same one that I had last year, I’m doubling down. Until then, here’s another Home Run Derby without a Giants hitter. Or pitcher. There’s no way you should admit that you care, but it’s okay to be quietly irked. I like seeing my favorite baseball men hit baseballs far. Giants fans haven’t had one of those in over 10 years. They haven't had a winner in 20.
It's time. But, as usual, we'll have to wait 'til next year.