The purpose of this is not to take away from what Josh Hamilton was able to accomplish last night. The problem I have, and many others, is of what he was not allowed to accomplish: The Actual Victory.
Yes, he "won the hearts of baseball fans across America" and blah blah blah. Great that Disney Sports, oh, I'm sorry, ESPN, got to tout Christianity and Don't Do Drugs messages all night (Happy Happy Joy Joy)
. Fact is, the structure of the Home Run Derby is fatally flawed. It is so irritating that I will never watch another one of these again, until they change up the way it is so the guy who hits the most home runs actually wins (I'll just watch the highlights and keep those three and a half hours of my life, thank you)
. What a concept, eh? I mean it is (supposedly)
a frickin' Home Run Derby contest, right? Then why are hitting more home runs seemingly unimportant?
Remember back in '99, when Mark McGwire won the Home Run Derby in Fenway Park? Oh yeah, he didn't win (Griffey did, but no one cares to remember that, cause he shouldn't have)
, even though he trounced the competition and hit some of the most memorable home runs ever in this faux "competition". They changed it in '06 (wow, in only took six more years of crap?)
so that Round 1 and 2 added up together. Good idea, they got rid of the stupid Wipe The Slate Clean thing. But, they didn't. They just saved it for the last round for when the two "sluggers" (Justin Morneau? Luis Gonzalez?)
are so tired they can barely lift their arms. F_cking Ridiculous.
And that's not the only year the guy with the most dingers lost. Last year, Rios hit two more that Vlad, but lost. In '05, David Ortiz got hosed when his first round of 17 got wiped and he didn't even make it out of the second round. In 2003, Garrett Anderson won even though he actually hit the third most home runs (Pujols and Giambi hit more)
. Wow, fun times for morons. Giambi got screwed in '01 too, when he hit 20 but "lost" to Luis Gonzales (16) and Sammy "Say It Ain't" Sosa (13). Yep, Jason didn't even make the finals that year.
If you're thinking about the strategy and how endurance is a factor, and you aren't a Twins fan, then go out back and shoot yourself now. Really, I'll wait...
OK, for the rest of us, let's work on revamping this sorry, sorry display of Suits jacking up an otherwise decent idea. We're at the point where people don't even want to be in it. Sure, some people think they'll screw up their swing, but that's garbage (sorry, Abreu, it was time on earth that caught up with you, not hacking a few BP's over the fence)
. It's the same problem as the Slam Dunk Contest. The best person doesn't always win (right Dwight Howard?)
What should be done? I've been thinking about this for a while. Yesterday, I suggested an inning by inning format like they did in the old TV show
, but that wouldn't solve the fatigue factor, and may, actually, intensify it. My Suggestion version 2.0 is to eliminate the third round, and invite only the HR leaders at the time of the break.
Here's how'd my idea would work. Currently, there are three rounds, starting with eight, and involving 14 sets of 10 "outs" to (wrongly)
determine the winner. I say, invite the top five HR hitters from each league, and going down the list to cover injuries and "no thank you"'s until you get the ten peeps.
OK, now that we have ten contestants (who can actually hit 'em)
, let them each take their hacks in Round One, 10 outs if ya want, although isn't nine a better baseball number? Unless we've finally moved to the Metric System or something. Anyway, that argument being rather silly, take the best four guys, move them to the final round, let them slug it out, and take the combined numbers from Round 1 and Round 2 to determine the winner. In case of a tie, you could up the drama and go swing for swing Sudden Death to establish the Champ.
Ya see? Still 14 rounds, still same TV time, still same Ad Rev (although I'd argue it'd be better)
. And this way, the person who hits the most home runs actually wins. Also, the contestants won't get so tired, so the final round would actually be worth watching, instead of feeling like a spotter asking for "just one more".
What a concept.
I'll take a 5% cut off the top, and may even take less if you get rid of that stupid Call the Shot thing. What gives with that anyway? How about giving $10,000 from each player to the charity of their choice, then give $50,000 to the winner's charity and $25,000 to the runner-up. Hell, have the Prez's of each charity there and get all the Smile-aren't-we-great TV time that you could ever hope for. You could even do a minute or two on each charity, and really up the ante.
Someone get on this, will ya? Thanks.
Tonight, more exhibition. Well, "it counts" for the AL home field advantage (seemingly)
every year, since the inception of this Selig gem. Great. Please, please, please, No Cubs Get Hurt. That's the mission. Otherwise, maybe the only other big deal could be an Aramis Ramirez late inning HR or something, cause that'd make for a good highlight. Maybe I should wait to bitch about the ASG until tomorrow.
Better for the stress levels, ya know?Go Cubs!!
two more days 'til Real Baseball again... (sigh)
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