There's not a whole lot for a San Diego Padres fan to be claiming on a national level these days obviously. But I have no doubt, and no regret in stating the truth so many do not realize, or simply could care less about. Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez should be participating in the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium on Monday night. It's really simple for a variety of reasons. But not coming from a major-mega-market organization which the likes of ESPN could care less about, Gonzalez is being blocked after the Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun was recently chosen for the final National League slot to join Philadelphia's Chase Utley, Florida's Dan Uggla, and Houston's Lance Berkman. These original picks are good choices. And while Braun is also someone who must be in the discussion and is a deserving figure for the derby and I mean no disrespect toward Braun, Gonzalez is the one who should have been picked for the derby at Yankee Stadium.
Going into play with the final pick still in the air earlier this week, Gonzalez was tied for fourth in home runs by a National Leaguer. Don't forget folks, Gonzalez plays his home games at Petco Park, a pitcher's paradise. His total of 13 road home runs was tied with the Ryan Howard for second in the majors at the time, behind Pat Burrell's which was at 15 at the time. Gonzalez has hit the longball with bigger obstacles than Braun (as well as most others selected) this season. As well, anyone who witnessed San Diego batting practice about a month ago during interleague play when the Padres played at Yankee Stadium would know Gonzalez actually would have a legitimate shot of winning this derby at Yankee Stadium with bombs to right field. While that Yankees 3-game sweep of San Diego last month was a compete embarassment for San Diego (and for Padres fans living in New Jersey like me), Gonzalez made an impression with some big hits in all three games including a moon-shot solo homer to right field in the June 18, 8-5 loss to the Yankees.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Patrick Courtney, a spokesman for the commissioner's office said, "We have limited space. Adrian Gonzalez is obviously a premier player, and some difficult decisions are made."
The paper then asked a great question andgot an answer that is half true is you ask me.
Also from the SD Uniont Tribune:
Asked who decides which players are selected, Courtney said Tuesday, "We work together with ESPN, (Commissioner) Bud Selig, a committee of people."
Yeah right working together with ESPN, the network who controls the whole operation on Monday night. ESPN has the say here, no one else. How can any fan of an NL West team - the most ignored division by ESPN for years on end regardless of how well or poorly the teams in it are playing - not believe it was ESPN all alone who has denied Adrian Gonzalez from his rightful spot in the Home Run Derby for the National League.
Gonzalez should be in the Home Run Derby. More concerned with ratings and keeping advertisers happy, ESPN once again kept the smallest market, least known guy out of the picture.