In his first year away from Los Angeles, ex-Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has rebounded to be his typically-steady self in Texas, somewhat anonymously drilling 21 homers in the first half while he dug his Rangers out of an early hole.
That’s exciting, and it’s what the 28-year-old Seager deserves. Though he’s been toiling somewhat anonymously after failing to lure Clayton Kershaw to Texas (half-kidding), the Dodgers fan favorite was named to the All-Star team as a replacement on Thursday, giving him a golden moment in Hollywood on Tuesday.
Then, at the end of Thursday’s news cycle, he got another one: the eighth coveted spot in the 2022 Home Run Derby. To which we say: Neat?
Does the Dodgers fan base’s lingering love for Seager justify his participation in this year’s Derby as the eighth and final contestant? Is there … even that much lingering love after he departed for greener (cash) pastures this offseason? Will he get any reception beyond an initial ovation?
And wouldn’t Californian Giancarlo Stanton rocking dingers over the outfield patio have been more entertaining than whatever waving Seager’s going to do in front of his formerly faithful fans?
Ex-Dodgers slugger Corey Seager to compete in final Home Run Derby spot
It’s likely Stanton considered this year’s Home Run Derby extra closely before ultimately passing. He did express interest in the wake of his selection as a starter — his first as a Yankee — and he is a Los Angeles native with his own narratives to play with, but wasn’t among the names announced on Thursday’s official bracket. That screams a backtrack, but who knows how the process ultimately played out?
Whatever the circumstances, Stanton’s prodigious power feels like a more spectacular fit for this event than Seager’s consistent line-drive cut, even though Dodgers fans might get more nostalgic as his round continues.
It seems like those in charge were at least a little swayed by Seager’s return home to Dodger Stadium and the baked-in emotional narratives when they completed the puzzle.
After all, Seager was only confirmed as an All-Star mere hours before he became a Derby participant, sliding onto the roster in George Springer’s place. How quickly did organizers place the phone call? And did they overestimate how enthusiastic the public’s reaction would be to the news?
As it stands, Stanton will keep his streak of Derby absences, active since 2017, intact, focusing instead on contending in the American League.
Seager, with probably the eighth-most buzz of anyone in the field, will attempt to spoil the party, Justin Morneau-style. Or he’ll absolutely bathe in a five-minute ovation. Who can say for sure?