The 2014 Home Run Derby was one of the most anticipated sporting events of the summer, but for many fans who watched the event on Monday, the results were very disappointing.
Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes earned his second straight victory in the event and deserves immense credit for the feat, but the bracket-style format made for a slow-moving show that was not as enthralling as last year's competition.
Here are the overall results from the 2014 Home Run Derby and the reaction to the new format.
|AL Batter||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3|
|Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics||3||10||7|
|Jose Bautista, Blue Jays||10||Bye||4|
|Adam Jones, Orioles||4||3||--|
|Josh Donaldson, Athletics||3||--||--|
|Brian Dozier, Twins||2||--||--|
|NL Batter||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3|
|Todd Frazier, Reds||2||6||1|
|Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins||6||Bye||0|
|Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies||4||2||--|
|Justin Morneau, Rockies||2||--||--|
|Yasiel Puig, Dodgers||0||--||--|
|Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics||9|
|Todd Frazier, Reds||1|
Breaking Down the Reaction to Bracket-Style Format
After a rain delay forced the start of the Home Run Derby back, there was no doubt that the patience of the people in attendance and at home was wearing thin. That’s not the ideal way to introduce a new format.
What grade did you give the 2014 Home Run Derby?
While the first round went as usual—each man got a turn to hit as many home runs as possible—the Derby went off the tracks during the bracket portion of the event.
With players like Jose Bautista and Giancarlo Stanton getting a bye in the second round, there was almost an hour of down time before heading to the plate again for the two heaviest hitters.
Both players lost any momentum they had during the break and failed to advance to the finals.
As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports pointed out, the lack of home runs in the semifinals made for a lackluster culmination to the event:
And Giancarlo Stanton promptly goes 0 for the semifinals. Todd Frazier on to the finals after hitting one home run in the semis.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 15, 2014
The format may have been awful, but Stanton made his home runs count, launching the ball like few others in the sport today, via MLB Gifs:
Another star who added to the struggles on Monday was Yasiel Puig. The Los Angeles slugger was expected to be a serious contender, but he failed to hit any home runs in the first round and was eliminated.
Twitter personality Ryan Nanni thinks he knows what happened to Puig:
Yasiel Puig respects the game too much to hit home runs that won’t count.— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) July 15, 2014
The format change was meant to help bring excitement back to the event, but as Jameson Fleming of Syracuse.com points out, it didn’t work at all:
Man, MLB just can't figure out how to make the Home Run Derby entertaining.— jAMERICA FleMERICA (@JamesonFleming) July 15, 2014
In a last-ditch effort to help the fans this year and even possibly next year, Passan offered a cheaper alternative to attending the Home Run Derby:
40,558 fans here at Target Field. An Ambien would have cost much less.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 15, 2014
There is no doubt that last year’s Home Run Derby wasn’t perfect, but it was much easier to enjoy for the fans than this year’s showcase. The people who pay to witness the event live or take the time to watch it at home simply want to see the top names hit home runs.
Kudos to the league for thinking outside the box with the bracket idea, but it failed miserably, and MLB must go back to the drawing board. The seven-outs-per-batter concept helped speed up the pace of the first round and created a buzz initially, but MLB must do away with the brackets.
If the league reverts back to the standard lowest-score eliminations and reduces the outs to seven, the pace of the event and the time between at-bats will be minimized. That will create a better opportunity for the batters to thrive and the fans to enjoy the show.
Stats via MLB.com.