My Ramblings to Tweak the Home Run Derby
Everyone might remember I had some reservations on the new “Captains” format for the State Farm Home Run Derby in 2011. After thinking about it for almost a whole season, it might have some legitimate merit, but maybe it can be tweaked a bit, just like the All Star Game starter and player selection process. Hopefully today I can outline my ideas, and maybe some day M L B will take credit for it ( just kidding).
The Captain format did take the selection process out of Major League Baseball fingers, but ( to me) it seem to evolve into a collection of “buddies” or power-stroking brethren taking turns hitting a baseball more than a competition that let fans from all over, including other countries outside the United States see our budding MLB stars.
So why not make the American League and National League Home Run leaders at the All-Star Break the Captains in the future? That would give more of a guarantee to the assembled baseball fans the best long ball hitters from both leagues will not only showcase their unique craft at the All Star classic, but also give the media and announcers a chance to further show the participants in depth, possibly making them household names in other vistas. In 2011, that would have made Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista and St. Louis Cardinal Lance Bergman the first 2 players selected for the Home Run Derby. Combined the pair have crushed 55 balls into the stands heading into the 2011 All-Star Break.
From there I would love to implement a “ State Farm Home Run Derby Participant” premise and re-institute it with 8 names from each league which would be announced a weeks in advance of the Monday event and conclude on that Saturday evening to decide which 3 candidates would of stood with Bautista or Bergman in 2011 as members of both the American and National League squads. I know I’m using 2011 as an example, but sometimes we can learn things from our past, or fail again and again by refusing to acknowledge it’s flaws.
Sure there could still be the horror of the large market teams stuffing the ballot box, but I have a solution to keep multiple players from each squad off the final selection team. To keep the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Cardinals and possibly the Dodgers from stuffing the ballot boxes, there would be no multiple players selected from the same franchise.
That ruling would have split up the 2011 pairings of Adrian Gonzalez and Ortiz, plus would have made either Rickie Weeks or Prince Fielder the Brewer selected for the Home Run Derby. This rule would have also eliminated Matt Holiday in 2011 since Bergman would have been the Cardinals representative.
Such a regulation would keep an unbalanced Home Run Derby squad that should of included players like Cincinnati Red Jay Bruce, Chicago White Sox Adam Dunn, Oakland Athletics Josh Reddick or even Oriole’s Adam Jones could of had a chance to be voted into the event.
If this system had been in place for the 2012 event, Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton and Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun would have been the “Captains” of the event since each lead their respective leagues in Home Runs at the break. Heck, based on Home Run totals, the New York Yankees could of been represented by Curtis Granderson than Robinson Cano.
Sure there are thing to be worked out, and holes to fill by players not wanting to participate, but M L B could get those “Yeahs” or “Nays” at the conclusion of the All-Star voting and hype up the Home Run Derby selection process with an entire week of plugging certain players, or maybe even trying to get a up-and coming player most of the country has not seen hit the ball like the A’s Reddick, Brewers Corey Hart or even Philadelphia Phillies Hunter Pence a chance on the big stage.
M L B made an honest effort in 2011 of trying to correct some past Home Run Derby wrongs, and they made great strides in the right direction. Now by also involving the fans in the process, we can get a more suitable and diverse selection that will have people again excited about the event. With a few slices and dices in the right spots, the State Farm Home Run Derby can come back in 2013 in the confines of Citi Field (July 16th) in Flushing, New York for the 2013 All Star Game more lean, mean and possibly pounding ball after ball out of the long confines of that massive ballpark.
That would be a pure joy to watch.