All-Star weekend keeps getting more and more interesting for Oakland Athletics fans. We already knew that Yoenis Cespedes would be defending his title at the Home Run Derby, but now we know that he will be joined by a friend. Just a couple hours after Josh Donaldson launched his 20th home run of the season, to the opposite field, in a park with a notoriously deep and tall right-field fence, off of a pitcher who is known for keeping the ball in the park and had allowed only six dingers all year in 17 starts, the Bringer of Rain was named to the Derby as the final participant.
Yo and Donnie will not be the only pair of teammates. The final NL spot went to Troy Tulowitzki's Colorado mate, Justin Morneau, who ... I'll be honest, I forgot he was still playing. But I guess his noggin has cleared up after his major concussion and he's having a solid year. I mean, I'd rather see Anthony Rizzo or Justin Upton or Paul Goldschmidt or Evan Gattis or Curtis Granderson or Michael Morse or Andrew McCutchen or Carlos Gomez or Mark Reynolds or Pedro Alvarez or Hunter Pence, but to be honest I probably won't watch it anyway so MLB shouldn't really care what I think on this. I mean, if one of the A's wins I'll watch a recording, maybe, but still. Out of that list, Gattis and Pence stand out to me as two guys who I really would have rather seen. Except Gattis is on the DL, d'oh. Of course, now that I've said this, we all know that Morneau will win while breaking a record for most homers in the final round or something. After all, he won in 2008.
Morneau is the fourth different Rockies player to be named to the Derby in the last three years, joining Tulo, Michael Cuddyer ('13), and Carlos Gonzalez ('12). What a strange coincidence. I wonder if there's anything that makes hitters from the Rockies look like better home run hitters. Nah, now I sound like some crazy conspiracy theory kook. In order to find another Athletic in the Derby (before Cespedes last year), you have to go back to 2001 for Jason Giambi.
In case you forgot, or didn't care in the first place, there is a new set of rules for this year's Derby. That's why there are five players from each league instead of four. And, in case you can't discern who is who in that picture above, the teams are:
Jose Bautista (Tor, he's the team captain, which is a thing now)
Yoenis Cespedes (Oak, defending champ)
Josh Donaldson (Oak)
Adam Jones (Bal)
Brian Dozier (Min, likely here because his team is hosting)
Troy Tulowitzki (Col, team captain)
Justin Morneau (Col)
Giancarlo Stanton (Mia, finally)
Yasiel Puig (LAD)
Todd Frazier (Cin, Pence must be busy on his home planet that day)
The last time a pair of teammates made it was in 2011, when the Red Sox sent David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez and the Brewers sent Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks. Yes, a relative of Jemile Weeks once participated in a Home Run Derby. He finished in last place. Both of those teammate pairings came about from a team captain picking his buddy, though. In order to find an instance before this team captain nonsense, you have to go back to 2004, when Miguel Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro both represented the Orioles (and Tejada won).
Did you know that Brandon Inge once took part in the Derby? And Chris Young? Chris Young?? OK, Morneau isn't such a bad choice.