"It's not my fault he didn't get selected," the Yankees' catcher said after the Rays' first baseman blasted MLB for including him.
On Tuesday afternoon, Rays first baseman Logan Morrison started a small storm by putting MLB and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez both on blast for the league's inclusion of the young backstop in the 2017 Home Run Derby. "Gary shouldn't be there," Morrison said. "Gary's a great player, but he shouldn't be in the Home Run Derby." He also questioned why the league put two Yankees in the Derby—Sanchez will join dinger juggernaut Aaron Judge in the contest—and intimated that being on the Rays was the reason he wasn't invited to take part despite having hit 24 home runs on the season. "It's par for the course. I play for the Rays. I get it," he said.
Unsurprisingly, those controversial comments made their way to Sanchez, who responded before Wednesday afternoon's game against the Blue Jays and noted that, well, it's not as if he put himself in the Derby. "It's not my fault he didn't get selected," Sanchez told reporters. "What can I say? They gave me a call, gave me an invitation to participate."
And that's about the only logical response anyway. As Sanchez noted, he didn't ask the league to be in the Derby; he only accepted the offer. He even said that, had he not made the American League's All-Star roster (he was selected as the backup to starting catcher Salvador Perez), he would've pulled out of the Derby. "I told them, 'I don't even know if I'm making the All-Star Game.' If I make the All-Star Game then for sure I'll do it."
Morrison also talked to the media on Wednesday before Tampa's game against the Cubs and noted that he had no personal issue with Sanchez. Via the Tampa Bay Times:
"That was not about Gary Sanchez whatsoever," Morrison said. "That was about a flawed system. It could be taken out of context I guess if you want, which I know (the Tampa Bay Times) didn't, but people could read the quote and say, 'Okay, he's jealous of Gary because he got picked.' It's not about that. (Milwaukee's) Eric Thames (23 homers) got slighted, too. How is that guy not in the Home Run Derby for the National League? It's a flawed system. That's it."
While it's a bit disingenuous for Morrison to insist that his comments had nothing to do with Sanchez when he literally said "Gary shouldn't be there," he does have a point at least about Thames, who would've been a worthy addition to the Derby (and who wasn't even invited). But that's the Derby for you: The organizers choose who they want based on whatever rationale they want, and there is no should or shouldn't in terms of who gets to take part. To call the system flawed misses that there is no system; it's just about the players that the league wants to be featured (and who, it should be noted, actually accept the offer; a lot of stars usually turn MLB down). And unfortunately and unfairly for Logan Morrison and his 24 homers, he's not one of them, though that doesn't make his pettiness vis-a-vis Sanchez any better of a look.
Anyway, this is a lot of Sturm und Drang about a competitive batting practice event that means nothing, but Sanchez's response and Morrison's walk-back is likely the end of it—at least, until Sanchez hits 25 home runs in his first round and everyone jumps on Twitter to note sarcastically, "This is fun, but I wish it were Logan Morrison taking these swings instead."