Home Run Derby Quickly Becoming Slam Dunk Contest

Jerome FosterContributor IIIJuly 12, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 12:  American League All-Star David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox swings the bat during the second round of the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby during All-Star Weekend at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 12, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

I remember when I used to care about the Home Run Derby. I couldn't wait to get in front of the television to watch Ken Griffey, Jr., Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds slug as many home runs out of the park as they could.

But that was years ago.

Today, however, I am just fine watching highlights of the event. I no longer feel the need to watch guys take glorified batting practice for two and a half to three hours.

I now feel the same way about the Home Run Derby as I do the Slam Dunk Contest. It used to be an event I had to watch. Now, it's an event I watch if I am home and there is nothing else to watch. There are a few reasons for this.

One of the reasons I don't feel compelled to watch is because the star power is lacking with the participants. Look at a few of participants that were in the Derby Monday night, Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers, Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Vernon Wells of the Toronto Blue Jays and Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees. All of them are good players, but I just don't get excited about watching them. And now, many of the more popular players don't participate because they feel the Derby messes up their swing for the second half of the season.

Another reason I don't watch because the format is old. Instead of seeing who can hit the most homers, let's see who can hit the longest one. Maybe we can see who can hit the most consecutive home runs. Something just needs to be done to spice it up.

The Home Run derby is also too long. By the time the event gets halfway through the first round, it feels stale. If MLB is going to keep the format the same, the outs per round should be reduced. This will keep the competition moving and it will be easier on the players.

I really wish they would scrap the Home Run Derby. I would much rather see something like a skills competition. I wouldn't mind seeing which player runs the bases in the shortest amount of time or seeing which player makes the strongest throw from the outfield. Just something other than who can hit the most home runs.

I doubt this will happen though since baseball is slow to change anything. I really want to watch the All-Star festivities the night before the Mid-Summer Classic but MLB must give me a reason to watch.