NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mets third baseman David Wright was announced as the National League captain for the upcoming Home Run Derby, and now he is receiving some major backlash for his teammate selections.
While it is tough to argue with Wright’s picks of Carlos Gonzalez (24 home runs, first in the NL) and fan-favorite Bryce Harper, the seven-time All-Star gave the baseball nation a surprise with his pick of the Colorado Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer. The 34-year-old has only 15 home runs.
Pittsburgh Pirates fans are in an uproar over the fact that their third baseman, Pedro Alvarez (23 home runs, tied for second in the NL) was not selected. In fact, when Alvarez sent his 23rd homer over the fence on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics, Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown belted, “Take that David Wright, says Pedro Alvarez.”
Pirates ace and former Yankee A.J. Burnett took to Twitter to voice his opinion and defend his teammate.
Wright and Cuddyer are more than just NL competitors. They happen to be friends who grew up in the Virginia Beach area. The two played AAU ball together growing up.
“I think that he’s one of the more underrated players and a friend, and our relationship had a lot to do with it, and his production had a lot to do with it,” Wright told reporters. “He has 15 home runs and had a 27-game hitting streak, so, for me, that was my choice.”
The whole scenario is looking a lot like Robinson Cano’s snub of Royals DH Billy Butler in last year’s Home Run Derby, which was held in Kansas City. The Mets third baseman certainly won’t receive as much criticism, for the Derby will be held in his home stadium, Citi Field.
But the starting third baseman in this year’s All-Star Game is learning, as Cano did, that being the captain of the Home Run Derby is not the easiest thing in the world.
“Unfortunately I just didn’t have enough picks,” Wright explained. “(Alvarez) was toward the top of my list, I just didn’t have quite enough room. He’s having a great year, he’s always been nice to me so I root for him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. If I pick him then people aren’t happy somewhere else. It’s a lot of pressure making those picks and there’s a lot of people that would like to see Pedro there too. I just didn’t have enough spots.”
The Mets begin their series with the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Friday. You can expect a whole stadium full of boos when Wright steps up to the plate.
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