Is it that hard to stand around swinging a bat? |

Is it that hard to stand around swinging a bat?

Bringing It Home
Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Every year, I look forward to the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby.

When I was little, my friends and I would have our own derbies with wooden bats and tennis balls and then tape the MLB one and watch it over and over.

I even used to play the Ken Griffey Jr. version of it on Super Nintendo.

I still love watching it, but I am so irritated at some of the players I don’t know if I can do it anymore. They act like it is a chore. Half of the guys who get an invitation turn them down, saying it is too hard, too much work.

Too hard? That makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Barry Bonds ” not surprisingly ” is one of those guys. The soon-to-be all-time home run king said he can’t participate in the MLB Home Run Derby on Monday.

He said he’s too old, according to a report on

“Nope,” Bonds said when asked if he would be in the derby. “Especially when you’re 42. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s that you just can’t anymore. You can’t. It’s too long. Too much waiting. Too much sitting around. You can’t do that.”

If you can’t stand at home plate and swing the bat when a pitching coach lobs a ball your way, then you shouldn’t be playing in the league. You don’t have to run the bases. You don’t have to take the field. All you have to do is swing the bat.

The only reason Bonds is even starting in the All-Star Game is because his don’t-care-if-he-is-a-cheater fans slammed and voted for him over and over again so they can see him play his 14th, and hopefully final, All-Star Game in front of his home crowd.

Then there is Griffey, who has always pissed me off in the derby. Each year he says he can’t do it because he needs to rest or some stupid thing like that. Then the fans complain and call him selfish and he changes his mind and accepts the invitation at the last minute.

He did that in 1998 when the derby and All-Star Game were at Coors Field. I was there and it made me so mad to hear a guy say he didn’t want to play in it, change his mind because people said he was a jerk and then have him go on to win the thing.

This year, he again said he will not play.

“I’m not doing it,” Griffey said on “I have personal reasons.”

Bonds and Griffey combined for more than 5,000,000 All-Star votes from fans. That sure is a lot for two guys who really don’t care about making fans ” who pay their multi-million dollar salaries ” happy.

So far four players ” Miguel Cabrera (17 homers), Justin Morneau (20), Prince Fielder (27) and Ryan Howard (20) ” have said they will play, but four more are needed. Howard, the 2006 winner, didn’t even make the All-Star team, but still wanted to come play in the derby. Well, at least there is a little hope that some guys are still honored by the invitation and give fans things they want to see.

Alex Rodriguez, who has 28 homers, is hurt, but what about the other top home-run hitters in the MLB, like Gary Sheffield (20), Torii Hunter (18) and Adam Dunn (23)?

Oh, yeah, Dunn said he didn’t get an invitation.

“I wouldn’t do it if they did [contact me],” Dunn said at “I have no interest.”

I am pretty glad he didn’t get an invitation and I hope there will be four more guys who can step up and remember what the baseball is all about and who it is really about.

Contact Joelle Milholm at 384-9124 or

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