Monday, July 11, 2011

Home Run Derby

I'm watching the big league baseball HR Derby tonight on ESPN.

I really haven't been interested in the derby for quite some time now, actually, it was 2005.

The All-Star Game was played at Comerica Park, the Home of the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers participant that night was catcher Pudge Rodriguez, who was establishing his legend in Motown as one of the best players to ever wear the Olde English D.

The HR Derby used to be must see baseball.

Now, not so much.

As a baseball fan, the derby just isn't as compelling as it once was.

I know this year they've changed things up a little, with team captains, the BoSox David Ortiz, and the Brewers Prince Fielder choosing the participants from among the actual player rosters.

The A.L. and N.L. will be battling team vs. team, for charity.

I like that, it's different, but for some reason it's just not as exciting as it used to be.

One of the problems is ESPN.

OK, so the major problem is ESPN.

ESPN is way over the top with the announcer's silly expressions over the distance of a batters HR.

While I understand that's what the derby's all about, hitting HRS, it's still batting practice.

Chris Berman, the annual host, is mostly to blame.

I really used to like Berman, and still appreciate his baseball knowledge, but he's gotten highly annoying.

"Back Back Back...Gone," Berman's catch phrase, is, was old years ago, now it's just painful to listen to.

Here's a few things I'd suggest to make the HR Derby better.

First, get rid of Berman.

Why does ESPN continue to run him out there?

Myself, I'd like to see Steve Berthiaume and Karl Ravich, the primary host's pf Baseball Tonight on the network.

ESPN does a great job broadcasting baseball games, and they should use the people who do baseball on a daily basis.

Berthiaume is the best host ESPN has, baseball, or not, and should be used for the entire coverage of the All-Star Game and it's festivities.

Where's Bobby Valentine?
He's terrific on Sunday Night Baseball.

Second, where's Jayson Stark and Tim Kurkjian?

These are actual baseball writers whom know their stuff, use them.

I don't need Nomar Garciapara.

I like John Kruk, but where's Barry Larkin?

Third, stop the one hour pre game and the 20 minute introductions. 
Start the intro's as soon as the show begins, and then start the derby.

I know ESPN has ad space to sell, that's fine, but the length of the first round takes way to long.

Fourth, and this is for the Commissioner, and MLB...the HR Derby participants should be made up of the Top 5 A.L. and N.L. HR leaders at the AS break.

As the fans follow the leader's in each league the interest for the derby will become a topic of conversation from the very first week of the season.

The Blue Jays Jose Bautista, the big league leader with 31 home runs would be the #1 A.L. player, joined by Yankee teammates Mark Texiera(25) and Curtis Granderson(25), the ChiSox Paul Konerko(22), and the Rangers Nelson Cruz(20)

The #1 N.L. guy would be the Cardinals Lance Berkman, the league leader with 24 home runs, and he would be joined by the Brewers Prince Fielder(22), the Dodgers Matt Kemp(22), the Reds Jay Bruce(21) and Cubs Carlos Pena(19).

Fifth, and again for MLB, please get rid of the 10 outs in each round.

In baseball, three strikes, your out.

Make the derby a game. 

Top of the first, each player gets their 3 outs, bottom of the 2nd, same thing.

After 9 innings, whoever has the most HRS wins the derby.
So, those are my thoughts on the derby.

What are your ideas for making the HR Derby more entertaining?

Please leave your comments below.

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