Bryce Harper: Only All-Stars Should Participate in Home Run Derby

WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper would love to participate in next year’s Home Run Derby at Nationals Park, but only if he’s selected as an All-Star.

That’s the way it should be, the Nationals slugger told 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen.

Asked if he would participate in the derby — his first since 2013, when he lost in the finals to Yoenis Cespedes — Harper said, “If I’m in the All-Star Game. I don’t like the rule that if you don’t make the All-Star Game, you can still do the home run derby.”

“So, I mean, if I am in the All-Star Game, I will be doing the derby next year,” he said. “That is definitely something that I want to do.”

Commissioner: Harper A ‘Spokesman For This Generation’

Harper has been increasingly vocal about the directions in which he feels baseball should go since winning the NL MVP in 2015, speaking up on everything from the sport’s unwritten rules, to bat flips, to fun, and pitchers throwing at hitters in retaliation. So, it’s no surprise he’s using his home stadium, the site of 2018’s All-Star Game and accompanying festivities, to drive focus onto another change he thinks the league should make.

“I think you should definitely be in the All-Star Game,” Harper said. “If you’re the defending champion and you don’t make the team, then I could see you coming back and doing it, but if you’re not an All-Star, I don’t think you should be able to do the Home Run Derby or anything like that, because it’s for the All-Stars that are there.”

“If you’re able to do that, then good for you and you deserve to be in it,” he added. “That’s something that I’ve just always thought about, and so be it.”

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