Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's time to change the HR Derby, starting with ESPN

Enough is enough is enough.

It's time to change the MLB Home Run Derby.
First, they way the players are chosen.

It's so simple, but maybe that's why baseball doesn't see it. We don't need a vote to decide the roster, all we need are the HR stats.

The top 5 HR hitters at the break should be the contestants, regardless if they've been there before.  

This would've been the A.L. lineup...Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera, Vladamir Guerrero.

This would've been the N.L. lineup...Adam Dunn, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Mark Reynolds.

OK, I know there's 6 players from the N.L., but that's the beauty. That's 11 players, I know that, but with other changes, it's not a problem.

Using the top HR hitter in each league will create a much better buzz. The format would allow the best long ball hitters every year to face off...look at this year, and what could have been...ex-Angel and current Ranger Vlad Guerrero coming back to his old ballpark, in front of his old fans. Talk about a hometown favorite. 

How about an Adam Dunn-Joey Votto matchup. The ex-Red Dunn challenging his old teams new slugger Votto, the top 2 HR hitter in the N.L. going toe-to-toe.

Second, change the format.

Why do the players get 10 outs before they're done. It takes to long, way to long.

Cut the outs down to 5 per round, that will allow the extra players time to hit.

We don't need to sit there for 3 1/2 hours watching guys taking pitches they don't like, sweating profusely, and taking breaks to get a drink while we fans wait for those 10 outs. It's to long.

Let MLB pitchers throw to the batters

How cool would this be. We don't need batting practice pitchers, bullpen coaches, what the contest needs are real pitchers. Each contestant can bring a teammate to throw to him, but it needs to be an actual big league pitcher.
Get rid of ESPN.
I used to love watching Chris Berman, but the "back-back-back" is old, and needs to go, and we don't need the over whelming play by play of the homers like it's Game 7 of the World Series. 

Last night was horrible. Berman and Joe Morgan talked to various guest's all night long, talking over one another, and ignoring the actual contest. 

The ESPN coverage is awful, plain and simple.

Give the HR Derby to FOX, and use the local FOX affiliate as the co-hosts. This would allow baseball fans to be introduced to a fresh set of voices covering the game each year. I would have loved to have seen Rex Hudler, a former big league player, and current Angels commentator, cover the game on TV. 

Hudler has a great passion for the game, and would, again, introduce non-Angel fans across the country to Hudler, known in his playing days as "Rex the Wonder Dog."

Give baseball back to the fans.

Stop all the ridiculous promotions, we don't care about a new TV show, or a movie that's coming out. We're watching to see baseball players hit baseballs a long way, it's that simple...just give us baseball.

I don't mind seeing all the great players of the past, but showing them taking a picture with someone while a player is taking his cuts during the HR Derby is terrible. 

In the end, it's simple for me. The HR Derby is a great thing for the game of baseball, and it's fans, but the contest needs to be re-tooled, and it all starts with getting rid of ESPN, and giving the game of baseball back to the fans.

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