|Did you stay up long enough to see Robinson Cano bring home the title?|
Not terribly long ago, the Home Run Derby was one of the sports highlights of my summer. Watching the best MLB sluggers take aim at the upper decks of stadiums was must-see television. After watching the last few years, with the exception of Josh Hamilton at Yankee Stadium, the Derby has become a bore to me. Here's why:
It takes too long. Last night's derby lasted a whole three hours. On the East Coast, it wrapped up after 11 p.m. The new format of having three rounds is just too much. In the 80's and 90's, each of the eight sluggers got 10 outs and the winner took all. Then, they changed it so that the top two hitters faced each other in a winner-take-all swingoff. This added maybe 15 or 20 minutes to the competition, which was manageable. Now, there are a total of 140 outs to be made! Eighty, 40, 20 in each of the three rounds. I love watching the long ball, but that's a little much.
Easy fix: Let's go back to the first round and then top 2 hitters get 10 outs to decide the champion.
Chris Berman says "Back, back, back, back, back..." way too much. If there's anything that would be an almost universal agreement among Derby watchers, it's that Berman needs to go. I know this will never happen because he's been doing the Derby as long as I can remember, but really, can't you come up with anything better than saying "back" 624 times in three hours? I thought Berman was the king of nicknames and catch phrases? Maybe he should work a little bit harder to come up with more material than just "back" and "ohhhh".
Easy Fix: MLB Network decides to cover the Home Run Derby live as well. Any of their hosts, like Matt Vasgergian or Greg Amsinger, would be refreshing to our ears.
The best hitters don't hit anymore. Gone are the days when the Derby had sure-fire Hall of Famers like Ken Griffey Jr., and Frank Thomas and other bombers like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were regulars as well. Now, those guys have been replaced with the likes of Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks and Nick Swisher. I do like MLB's move to allow captains to pick their own teams and allowing the captains to pick non-All-Stars to participate.
Quick Fix: Again, let the captains continue to pick their teams. The captains need to pick guys who will put on a show, like Adam Dunn or even Bryce Harper next year.
What did you think of last night's Home Run Derby? Did you stay up late enough to see the ending? I used to enjoy watching the Celebrity Softball Game afterwards, but it probably didn't start until after midnight last night.