It just seems that we can’t avoid controversy anywhere. Trump and Russia in politics, Harvey Weinstein raping and harassing everyone in Hollywood, LeBron James leaving for Los Angeles and now baseball has its little problem. It looks very obvious that Bryce Harper of the Nationals and his pop-pop cheated at last nights 2018 MLB Home Run Derby. Harper won 19-18 over Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber. He did this in most dramatic fashion in front of the hometown Washington Nationals crowd at that!
Now, let’s understand that this is supposed to be fun and it is just an exhibition, but fair is fair. And rules are rules. I thought this is what was taught to kids when they were learning sports in the first place. You have to play within the rules. Tom Brady inflated balls a smidge and it seemed like ‘nitpicking’, and maybe it was, but he broke the rules. He plainly broke the rules. Stepping over the fault line in bowling seems like a silly, small little thing, but it is breaking the rules. It doesn’t seem like it would matter, but it does.
So how did Harper cheat? Was this a grand conspiracy? Did MLB just look the other way? Yes, no and yes! But there is no doubt that Bryce and his father really put the pedal to the metal in the final round when he was hurling pitches to his son without waiting for the homerun balls to land. The rule states that you have to wait for the ball to land. Why do they have to wait? Because it is actually a TIMED EVENT! In each round, the hitter has four minutes of swings. So they are cheating a few seconds on each pitch that he is belting over the fence and not waiting. They went so fast, that with only 50 seconds to go, (that is less than a minute folks), Harper was trailing the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber, 18-9. That’s when Harper went full beast mode. The slugger blasted an insane nine homers in less than a minute to tie up the score. Like the number of days, Ferris Bueller missed from school that quarter…NINE TIMES!
Now, home runs are exciting and people are watching the ball sailing. They aren’t watching if the pitcher is waiting. But the TV cameras are. And clearly, fans all over the internet are. You can see in the videos that this guy is throwing balls hella fast without waiting. And he does it more than once…more than twice!
Harper admitted that he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round. And so did his dad, who was throwing to him. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. Now let’s keep in mind that having that extra time was a huge help and has a lot to do with the win. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for home run number 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 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.