Home Run Derby Alternatives

David Wright at the 2006 Home Run DerbyTholeMoley over at Mr. Met Is My Brother wrote a post about watching the NHL All-Star Game.  Actually she’s wrote a couple of them, but I want to talk about one of them specifically.  I wanted to watch the festivities this weekend, especially with John Tavares a part of them, but I had other things to deal with and missed it.  TholeMoley highlighted some of the events in the skills competition, and talks about how much better it is than the Home Run Derby.


Now, personally I like the Home Run Derby.  There is nothing more magnificent in all of sports than watching a baseball player swing and smash a baseball 400+ feet in the air.  There’s just a simple majestic beauty to it, especially if you see it in person like I did in 2006.  (And that’s not just because you can’t hear Chris Berman)  Most of what people object to about the Derby is the massive amount of time between batters and all the other stuff besides the mammoth home runs.


So broadening the spectrum might be fun and could include more than just the Home Run Derby and the random eight players they can find to participate.  TholeMoley suggests a fastest trip around the bases to parallel the fastest skater event.  She also mentions fastest players, hardest throwers, and the most accurate throwers getting their time to shine.


You could do an accuracy event.  Set up some milk bottles on a table, and have the players throw a baseball at them.  If they hit it they advance to the next round and take five steps back.  Repeat this until you have a winner.  If all players miss at the same time, simply repeat that round.


Not to take anything away from the kids that get to shag balls in the outfield, but you could position the All-Star outfielders at the walls and let them try to rob home runs all night.  Most of them clear the fence by quite a bit though.


Perhaps giving out more titles is the way to go.  In a social media society we’re all used to get badges and titles for things as simple as checking in to the ballpark more than anyone else.  Instead of just crowning a winner, crown the guy with the farthest home run, with the most home runs back to back and the guy with the highest single round total.


These are just a couple of suggestions, and none of them seem too much different than simple warm-up activities so there shouldn’t be any real concern about anyone getting hurt.  It’d be an interesting way to spice up the event and might spike interest that has been fading over the years.  There are other things they can do to, like break up the idea of National League versus American League since the advent of interleague play takes away some of the mystery of it.  It’s pretty clear that the All-Star Game is not perfect, and MLB should always be looking to tweak it.






I Love The All-Star Game

I attended the All-Star Game in person in 2006 in Pittsburgh, and it really changed my opinion of the game in general.   It’s a true celebration of the greatest sport on Earth, and that’s something I can look forward to.


Just because I enjoy the game does not mean I don’t recognize that there are a lot of problems with it.  The biggest is the huge amount of players that do not participate, and truly do not want to participate.  There are problems with the voting, with the ballots, and with how much the game matters.  There are similar issues with the Home Run Derby, including it’s length.  I did actually like the way it was done this year, with two players selecting the rest.   It’s harder to say no to a coworker than it is to a boss.


So I’m going to enjoy celebrating baseball this week, and wish I was there.  If you don’t like the festivities (And if you don’t, I question why you clicked on a link that said “I love the All-Star Game”), don’t watch.  That’s fine, the Mets will be back Friday.  Just please refrain from tweeting and arguing about how much the game sucks and this and that. Why rain on my parade?  I try to keep the negativity to a minimum myself when I see my timeline filling up with boring soccer tweets, or college basketball tweets, so do me the same courtesy.  I don’t need to see you tweeting about how you’re so much better because you’re not watching the game.

Enjoying the All-Star Game

How about THIS for a bullpen? *drools*
How about THIS for a bullpen? *drools*

I went to the All-Star Game, on a whim, in 2006.  It really changed how I felt about the game in general.  I had a blast, and I can’t wait to get back to another one, or for it to hopefully be at Citi Field in 2013.   It was like being at a party devoted to baseball.

Here’s the article I wrote about it, in 2007.  Mid-Summer Excitement

That Home Run Swing

Apr 09, 2007 12:46 AM

David Wright’s power numbers were down the second half of last season and he’s off to a little bit of a rough start this year. However, one thing I’m tired of hearing about is the Home Run Derby and how it messed up his swing. This is not an exclusive argument to Wright and has been applied to many players. Obviously the biggest detractor from the argument is to look at how the Derby champion, Ryan Howard, did afterwards. His swing certainly didn’t look messed up.

I find it really hard to believe that a professional hitter, which is what all of the participants of the Derby are, can be messed up by a couple of hours of extracurricular fun. Why do those 50 or so swings have a bigger effect then the dozens more a player does between the derby and his next regular season game. At the very least he’s got the All-Star Game and any warm-up associated with that, plus batting practice of the next game after the break. Besides the hours of batting practice Wright and other such players had for the last 80 games or so, there is also a hitting coach and 24 other players (Okay, more like 12 other hitters) on the team that can help out if his swing looks a little off.

So does the Home Run Derby actually affect a player’s power numbers for the second half of the season or is it just another stat anomaly that people read too much into? My bet’s on the latter.