The Home Run Derby: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


The Home Run Derby is like sweet icing. You either love it or can’t stand it. I’m on the can’t stand it side (even though I love me some icing). To me and the others who hate it, it’s boring, repetitive, unnecessary and, most importantly, completely screws up the swing of the players competing in the Derby (which is why I’m happy Mark Reynolds wasn’t in it). It’s a completely different story than the All-Star Game because, unlike the other 3 pro sports, I’m completely for the MLB ASG. I love it (more on this tomorrow when I write about it).

The HR Derby means nothing though. It’s created for the fans and it will continue to go on because enough fans love it (Chase Field was packed last night). Watching players hit home run after home run after home run could almost put me to sleep. I’d be out if the TV was muted, but counting how many “back back back”‘s Chris Berman did kept me alive and kickin’. (Note: Another blog counted and kept track and recorded that Boomer did “back back” 50 times; that’s gotta be a record).

The Derby had a little different set-up this time around. Instead of players trying to win individually, they made it a team effort to continue the AL vs. NL showdown past the Mid-Summer Classic. David Ortiz was selected as the AL’s Team Captain and Prince Fielder was selected as Head Honcho for the NL. They then selected 3 players to form their respective teams. Ortiz (who took this thing way too seriously) selected Adrian Gonzalez, Robinson Cano, and Jose Bautista. Prince chose fellow teammate Rickie Weeks, Matt Holliday, and Matt Kemp. Take a close look at those teams. You should notice two things.

1. The AL team is comprised of only players from the AL East.
2. Every AL HR Derby team member is not American! Bautista is a Mexican and the other 3 are Dominican! So I saw this not as an AL against NL competition but as Americans against Latinos!

Now, this year’s Derby has started to change my mind about it a little bit. It’s way too long and is definitely pointless but the Final Round last night was phenomenal. First off, it was Adrian Gonzalez versus Robinson Cano aka Red Sox versus Yankees. That’s great TV right there. Then, Gonzalez hits 11 homers, which is a lot. Then Cano comes up and he’s being pitched to by his father (plucks the heartstrings, doesn’t it?) and he’s down 11-0. He gets 6 outs without hitting one home run. Then, something changes and he suddenly gets it and drills 12 home runs to win. He could have hit 5 more if he needed to. He was a machine. He scored 12 in the Final Round, most of all-time. The Final Round last night was interesting and fun to watch, which makes me want to give the HR Derby a chance next season.