Fixing the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby

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by Ryan Isley

As Monday evening came along, I turned on ESPN just in time to hear Chris Berman’s voice announcing the start of the Major League Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby. Immediately, I tuned it out.

As the evening wore on and I found myself actually enjoying the celebrity softball game more than the Home Run Derby, I decided that we needed a change in how All-Star Monday is handled – especially the Home Run Derby.

The first change?  Berman would never be back (back, back, back). Not only has he grown to agitate almost everyone I have spoken with, but his references are older than the players he is using them to describe.

I actually enjoy John Kruk and Nomar Garciaparra on the set, so they would stay. Replacing Berman? That would be the highly underrated Joe Tessitore, as I think Tessitore is the one of the best announcers that is employed by ESPN and is versatile enough to handle the Home Run Derby.

As far as the Home Run Derby itself, the current format just makes the night drag on and on, as players are at the plate for 10 outs, making it seem like the first round lasted eight hours, not the hour-and-a-half that it actually lasted. To alleviate this issue, the entire format needs to be scrapped and a new one rolled out. Well, sort of, as I would actually go old school.

Back in 1960, there was a show called “Home Run Derby”, which is where the idea for the current contest during All-Star week was originated. In that show, players would have a one-on-one showdown with each other in which they would play nine innings, getting three outs per inning – just like a real game.

To fix the home run derby at the All-Star game, I would revert back to that original concept – with a few tweaks.

First of all, I would separate the players from the American League and the National League and then seed them one through four by league – in tournament fashion. The seeds would be determined by number of home runs hit in the first half of the season, with all ties broken by career home runs.

Once a player has been determined from each league, the two league champions would face off in the overall championship.

This season’s Home Run Derby would have looked like this:

American League:
No.1 Jose Bautista vs. No.4 Prince Fielder
No.2 Mark Trumbo vs. No.3 Robinson Cano

National League:
No.1 Carlos Beltran vs. No.4 Matt Kemp
No.2 Andrew McCutchen vs. No.3 Carlos Gonzalez

The way the Home Run Derby would work is actually pretty simple, going back to that old television show.

Each match-up in the first and second round would be a game of three innings each, with each player getting three outs per inning. Every swing is either a home run or an out – just like it is in today’s festivities. The higher seed would act as the home team, therefore batting last in each inning. After each round, the totals are set back to zero and we start from scratch.

In the championship match, we would play a five inning game – same rules apply as the first two rounds. When all is said and done, we have a true champion.

This idea couldn’t possibly be worse than what we currently have, could it?

Agree with Ryan? Or do you think he is nuts? Leave a comment here or email Ryan at ryan@morethanafan.net

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Ryan focuses on NASCAR - bringing readers stats, news and his opinions on the multiple series of Stock Car Racing.

1 comments
Dylan Thompson
Dylan Thompson

Ryan, I agree with you 200%, the current format- for lack of better words- sucks. As you have said, the old school form would work better, and I currently find the setup to be boring. The only entertainment (in my point of view) is watching the fans being subjected to 2 hours of torture. Whoever came up with the concept that is in place now needs to be sacked, and they need a whole new direction for it. That's my views on it and mine alone.