By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Major League Baseball isn’t stupid.
For years, it selected Home Run Derby contestants. And for years, angry fans went berserk the instant the lineup was announced and their favorite sluggers were snubbed.
It was really a no-win situation for MLB. Imagine you are asked to make a decision that will be scrutinized and second-guessed by every city across America and the throngs of opinionated sportscasters who occupy them.
What would you do? Push the task off on someone else? Exactly.
That’s precisely what Major League Baseball did by cleverly delegating the duty to captains — David Wright for the National League and Robinson Cano for the American League. Why screw up decisions yourself when you can have appointed leaders do it for you? (Democracy, ladies and gentlemen!)
They didn’t disappoint.
Wright drew furies of criticism, especially from Pirates fans, after choosing Bryce Harper, the young Nationals phenom who has missed 30 games with a knee injury. There was even greater backlash when Wright admitted he picked Michael Cuddyer (just 16 home runs) in lieu of Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez primarily because Cuddyer’s an old buddy.