For the 2011 MLB Home Run Derby, the league switched things up. For the first time ever, they picked a captain for the American and National League team and let those guys decide who they were going to bop with. Maybe the league thought this would be a more fair process but probably they just wanted to deflect the criticism for the picks to the players themselves.
If that was the plan, Prince Fielder and David Ortiz didn't disappoint. Each picked a teammate over other possible candidates and each made decisions guaranteed to leave plenty of fans mad. In the end, it was a no win situation and both Ortiz and Fielder did what players do and went with their boys.
For the National League, Fielder snubbed Diamondback Justin Upton (13 HRs) in favor of fellow Brewer Rickie Weeks (15 HRs) along with Matt Holliday (11 HRs) and Matt Kemp (22 HRs). Kemp was an obvious choice and Upton as the hometown guy would have been nice, but Mike Stanton and Jay Bruce also made strong cases for making the cut.
"I definitely wanted someone from the Diamondbacks to be in it but these guys, I know these guys really well, and these are my picks. No hard feelings," Feilder told Arizona Republic Diamondback's beat writer Nick Piecoro.
David Ortiz picked his fellow RedSox mate, Adrian Gonzalez (16 HRs) in a less controversial move and then went with the obvious choice of Jose Bautista (27 HRs). Big Papi then picked his friend Robinson Cano (14 HRs) over Mark Reynolds or Paul Konerko.
Anyway you slice it, someone's fans are going to be mad. This way, MLB has cleverly put the blame on the players themselves.