Of all the festivities of major sports all-star weekends, the Home Run Derby is right up there with the Slam Dunk competition in potential. People want to see players slam dunk a basketball. People want to see baseball players hit a ball 500 feet.
But we can’t seem to get the competitions down to make it enjoyable.
I watched most of the Home Run Derby last night and it just dragged on and on. And then it ended anti-climatically with Hanley Ramirez hitting a ground ball into left field. That was it? Congrats David Ortiz…?
It’s evident that everyone wants the Home Run Derby to be exciting. It just isn’t. There are flashes of excitement. Josh Hamilton hitting 28 home runs in one round in 2008 was amazing to see. But then he didn’t even win.
I’d love to hear some ideas on how to make the Home Run Derby more exciting. I have some suggestions.
Remember the video game NBA Jam? Remember the setting where there would be spots on the court that if you made a basket from you’d get that many points for the shot? Sometimes you could hit a jump shot from just inside the three point line and score 8 points. Now that was exciting. You were never too far behind and never far enough ahead.
What if we could translate that idea into the Home Run Derby? What if there were giant cardboard signs over the wall with point values on them and when they were hit they were worth that many points. The Derby wouldn’t go by home runs hit but by points instead. Now there’s some strategy involved instead of just swinging as hard as you could. Or maybe in addition to some “hit it here” type spots, certain sections were worth a designated amount. If the ball is hit into section “whatever” in Anaheim, it’s worth 5 points. If the ball is hit into the next section back, it’s worth 10 points, etc.
The cool thing about this is that it would change the game every year. Each ballpark would create a brand new game with new rules and point values assigned to different parts of the park.
You’d also have the option to change it from 10 outs to a set limit of swings. Maybe each player only gets 20 swings a round. It doesn’t matter if they’re outs or home runs. The points are added up after those 20 swings and that’s your total for the round.
Regardless, something needs to be changed. The Derby has so much potential to be great again.
What are your ideas?
Read more: John Mark runs a blog that covers the Cubs and the Cardinals over at TheOutfieldIvy.com