July 14, 2009

Derby downer

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Has, God forbid, the Home Run Derby lost its “oomph?” Last night, it sure felt like it was. With no superhuman performances, a finalist who is a borderline all-star, a flame out by the local hero and a three hour running time, last night’s Derby was actually boring at times. But what can be done to fix it?

First off, there is no way that this event should take three hours. I know that MLB has to justify people getting their money’s worth when paying for tickets, but I’m sure the event would sell out regardless of time. So, how about cutting the show down to, at least 2.5 hours, maybe even two flat? It’s certainly doable.

Secondly, these guys who took a ton of pitches completely killed any momentum the show had going. That’s right, I’m looking your way Albert Pujols. I know it’s his nature to wait for the right ball, but taking four out of every five pitches got me yawning. How about installing a pitch limit to insure a guy swings once every three or four times.

Of course, with my last suggestion there will be some pressure put on the poor BP coach tossing balls for the stars to hammer. Why not use your standard batting cage pitching machine? Have one of those babies let ’em fly and there shouldn’t be a problem with getting good pitches. Plus it’ll save some of those old guys’ arms.

Next, last night’s “Swing off,” killed any of the little momentum that the event had going. My solution, do what the video games do and set the tiebreaker as longest distance. Then it would matter how far your bombs went as well as how many you hit. Also, it would justify Fox’s ridiculous tracking system. If you’re not a fan of distance, you could also use home run streak as the tiebreaker, putting an emphasis on consistency at the plate.

Three rounds feel like too much and with a quarter and semifinal, the guys are usually too tired to do much in the round that counts the most. Why not have two rounds and the guys will be fresher and put on a better show. To make up for the lost round’s worth of balls in the stands, have three guys in the final.

Finally, how about inviting guys you know will do really well?  I could’ve told you before the contest that Brandon Inge was going to be the token “zero” guy and it turns out he was. One of the NL’s first basemen was destined to have a stinker (Adrian Gonzalez) and Albert Pujols even admitted he doesn’t see himself as a home run hitter. Why not have the true mashers in there, all-stars or not. The NBA’s all-star weekend participants don’t have to be all-stars, why should the Derby competitors?

1 Comment

  1. For a second I thought you were kidding.

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