San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will get to bat for himself in an American League Park on Thursday. Unfortunately, Bumgarner will not be a part of the Home Run Derby.
Bumgarner will not do All-Star HR Derby. Bochy said it was nixed at union's lobbying.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 1, 2016
This is really unfortunate. Bumgarner was not the only pitcher who wanted to participate. Finding some ways to include pitchers would be a nice way to provide spark to an event that quite frankly is often boring.
It is hard to figure out exactly what the union’s objection was. Shouldn’t the job of a union be to look after the interests of the players that it serves? Bumgarner clearly wanted to participate. Saying that he can’t is counter intuitive.
What is the big concern? Yes, injuries are a risk. Unfortunately, injuries are always a risk in professional sports. Bumgarner could hurt himself in the Home Run Derby. That’s not up for debate. But are the chances of a Home Run Derby injury greater than in regular batting practice?
The possibility of an injury is certainly greater in an actual game. Bumgarner can hurt himself swinging a bat or running the bases. On the mound, he can hurt himself throwing a pitch or fielding a ball.
If this really is a union issue, then the MLBPA fell on the wrong side of this debate. If Bumgarner wanted to be in the Derby and the organizers were willing to have him, the MLBPA is nothing more than an unnecessary middle man.