So much for getting a few days of rest next week. As first reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, both Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber will take part in this year’s Home Run Derby at Nationals Park. An official announcement won’t come until Wednesday, but Wittenmyer cites several team insiders who have confirmed the duo’s participation.
Hometown hero Bryce Harper Dodgers infielder Max Muncy, who was unemployed just a year ago, round out the NL contingent in the annual power display.
It had been mentioned Monday night that Javy might be in the Derby, which would have been enough in and of itself to make the event destination TV. And now with Schwarber joining in? I’d almost be happy to hear Chris Berman yapping “Backbackbackbackbackbackback” ad nauseam.
The last time the Cubs sent two participants to the Home Run Derby was way back in 2015 when Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo failed to do much in Cincy. I can’t explain much about the latter’s struggles in the contest, but KB was definitely hampered by his dad’s pitching style. Just kidding, Mike, it wasn’t totally your fault. Just mostly.
More than a few of you are no doubt concerned with what this contest will do to the players’ swings, a fear born of past second-half falloffs from other participants. But, like, have you seen Javy’s swing? It’s not as if he could dial the effort up any further. And Schwarber’s got power to spare with that natural lefty uppercut that he doesn’t have to alter a whit to drive balls out of the yard.
Even so, I’m guessing some Cubs fans will be perfectly happy if Javy and War Bear don’t go deep in the go-deep contest. As for me, I’m cool with them hitting all the dingers. Regardless of how well you want them to do, you can watch the Cubs stars in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday, July 16 at 7pm CT on ESPN.