Red Pill or Blue Pill?

ESPN reportedly didn’t count one of Kyle Schwarber’s home runs—WE HAVE A DERBY CONSPIRACY, PEOPLE!


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The year is 2022. Nothing isn’t a conspiracy. The shape of the earth? Conspiracy! Modern medicine? Conspiracy! PS5 shortages? Conspiracy! Now you can add the Home Run Derby to the list.

On Monday night, Kyle Schwarber and MLB legend Albert Pujols squared off in the opening round of the 2022 Home Run Derby. Pujols batted first, launching 20 dingers into orbit. Then Schwarbomb stepped to the plate. In bonus time, needing seven runs to catch Pujols, Schwarber got hot and started launching. The homers came thick and they came fast, and in the barrage it appeared that ESPN may have missed Schwarber’s 18th home run. As the clock expired, the millennial reincarnation of John Kruk came up just one run short of tying Pujols. See for yourself.

These amateur forensics clearly (and by clearly we mean grainy, crooked cellphone footage of a TV screen) prove that Schwarber’s “ghost” home run did happen, despite ESPN failing to tally it. But wait, the waters get even murkier.

As with all conspiracies, it’s extremely important to ask “to what end?” Countless crackpot theories are peddled with no thought given to motive. Most have no tangible benefit to those alleged to have perpetrated them. It’s not enough to ask “what?” You also have to ask “why?” In this case, however, you could certainly argue that ESPN had a stake in seeing Pujols—in his final season and fifth derby, still searching for that elusive home run crown—advance. That’s a hell of a story. One that leads Sportscenter, drives clicks, and gets millions of likes. There’s your motive. There’s your end game. And when you add it all up, it stinks. It stinks bad.

Or not, who cares, it’s just the Home Run Derby. Don’t you guys have lizard people to hunt or something?