Four Things the Home Run Derby Needs to Improve

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IJuly 15, 2008

After watching the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby last night (Josh Hamilton was sensational) I was reminded of its flaws, which I had discovered in the past.

For one thing, each player has too many outs.  Each player should be given seven outs, not 10. 

Also it's too do-or-die-oriented.  Every ball hit that doesn't land in the bleachers shouldn't count as an out.  But on the other hand, the current format makes the contest go faster, which helps attract casual fans. 

Thirdly, it's too boring to watch unless you're a big baseball fan.  I found myself chatting online with friends after two or three players had taken their first-round swings.  The only part of the Derby I watched after that was Josh Hamilton's first-round tirade. 

Another thing: the pre-competition festivities are too long.  Yes, I know, stadium management just had to have something before-hand, like everyone else does. 

But the fact is that these things only get in the way of what the people at the stadium or tuning in to watch on TV want to see - the action.  They gave their money and time to watch baseball, not to see a band perform - if they wanted that they would go to a concert.   

Or, at least, if pre-contest events absolutely must be planned, they must be enjoyable.  I can bet nobody watching on TV or at the stadium wanted to hear 3 Doors Down singing an atrocious live version of "It's Not My Time" instead of starting the contest (myself included).  And I like the studio version of that song a lot - or, at least, I used to.

I, for one, would much rather have seen rock band Airbourne play "Stand up for Rock'n'Roll" instead, or maybe Nelly could have rapped "Heart of a Champion". 

The point is, there must have been someone better than 3 Doors Down they could have hired to perform before the competition.

These changes need to be made to make the Home Run Derby better and more enjoyable to everyone.

If at least some of them aren't made, I'll only tune in to see Josh Hamilton's encore performance next year.