The annual Home Run Derby happens during the All-Star Break. It’s fun! It’s goofy and made for showboating. It’s a chance for players to loosen up a little in the middle of a grueling season. Harper clearly had himself a good time in front of his home crowd at the 2018 event, as the All-Star Game was in Washington D.C. that season. Oh, and also because he won the Home Run Derby pretty handily, beating out finalist Kyle Schwarber from the Cubs. But almost immediately after, some fans cried foul, saying that Harper and his father (who pitched to him in the contest) cheated.
It was said that Harper’s father was pitching to his son too quickly, not letting the balls he was hitting land completely and basically giving Harper a few extra swings. Some viewers pointed to a moment where Harper seemed to gesture at his dad as the concrete evidence. Other angles show that the umpire was giving the signal for his dad to throw.
Surely, Harper’s reputation played a part in fans’ furor, as Home Run Derby rules aren’t as hard and fast as regular-season rules. Nor should they be. This is supposed to be fun! Can’t we all just enjoy the show?