Clark: Despite rational thought, ‘Home Run Derby curse’ still lingers for O’s fans

From Glenn Clark at Press Box Online on July 17, 2015:

I was guilty of this one myself.  

While watching this year’s Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, I looked forward to seeing Orioles third baseman Manny Machado compete — I just didn’t want to see him compete for very long. After he was eliminated in the first round by Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, I took to Twitter to express my relief that the Orioles’ third baseman wasn’t moving on in the tournament and found an audience of O’s fans who also saw their fears alleviated.

What were we afraid of? The curse of the Home Run Derby, of course.

The Derby curse is the phenomenon many believe wrecked then-Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bobby Abreu in 2005. Abreu went into the All-Star break with 18 home runs and put on what was an unparalleled performance, slugging 41 home runs during the course of the exhibition event. After the All-Star break, he would hit only five more home runs, making him the poster boy for this apparent affliction.


I guess the truth is if Machado struggles during the second half, it probably isn’t as much about the Home Run Derby as it is about a 23-year-old still going through growing pains as a baseball player.

Of course, he might not struggle at all. Because the Home Run Derby curse might not even be remotely legitimate. That’s what the respected baseball minds at Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) concluded a few years back, after all.

So why do we still fear the possibility? Why were we rooting for one of our favorite players to get knocked out of a competition on national television?

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Originally published: July 17, 2015. Last Updated: July 17, 2015.