The Home Run Derby Sucks. Here Are Some Better Ideas
The Major League Baseball Home Run Derby is two days away. Can you count the goosebumps on my arms? (That, kids, is sarcasm).
I’ll be blunt. The Derby is stupid. While it’s cute to see players snuggle their kids or lay back and take selfies with other players on their iPhones, the competition is pointless. And that’s before we talk about Chris Berman clucking “back back back” like an overweight drunk chicken with an inflated opinion of himself.
The truth is that players who participate, on average, see their home run production dip in the second half. Do you ever see PGA players try to putt a ball through a windmill on their local putt-putt course? No, because it could affect their timing. And the derby is basically a player’s dad or favorite minor league coach tossing softballs to a major league slugger. I mean, I tear up with Ray Kinsella plays catch with his dad at the end of Field of Dreams. But if I had to watch that scene for four hours with the insane prattle of Chris Berman “highlighting” the action, I would find a way to hang myself with the laces of a baseball mitt.
But instead of just bitching about Chris Berman all day, and I could, I bring constructive criticism and solutions to the table. There are plenty of other things I’d like to see on the night before the All-Star Game (besides my family, which I’ve largely abandoned most nights since March Madness). I present you with alternative entertainment proposals to the HR Derby:
- Wiffle Ball Tournament. The All-Stars would play wiffle ball in the outifield; perhaps a four-game at a time tournament. In order to protect players from injury, only position players could pitch and there would be no running. Hits would be determined by length of the hit and if balls are fielded cleanly. Come on, it would be fun to see Mike Trout whiff Clayton Kershaw on some nasty plastic junk or Jacob deGrom sprain his hair laying out to catch a potential triple.
- Dodge Ball. Enough said.
- Beer Pong. When I went to college, we never needed an excuse to drink. If we were to play ping pong, it would be simple: paddle in one hand and beer in another. But now I’m the old dude and the kids are all chugging beer from a cup that most recently had a nasty ping pong ball in it. I don’t get it but hey, it’s a new generation. Note: non-alcoholic beer must be used. I’m not protecting players from getting drunk, but if you used real bear, the Red Sox would win every time.
- Celebrity Dodge Ball. As fun as All-Star Dodge ball would be, it would be even more fun to see Bryce Harper and Jon Hamm see who could mess up the other guy’s hair first.
- Player Impersonations. Remember batting stance guy? He tore through his 15 minutes. But in that tradition, Trevor Bauer imitated three different teammates in one at-bat, without even cracking a smile. And it made an American League pitcher’s at-bat into something entertaining. Players could imitate one another (and perhaps a couple could impersonate announcers as they call the action) during the Wiffle Ball game or an actual batting practice session.
- Players’ wives water balloon fight. Sure it’s sexist and misogynistic, but so is America. I personally think cheerleaders add nothing to a game, and are exploited simply for male arousal. But I have a good middle ground. The wives would wear white tshirts, but as they get hit with the balloons, the shirts would both turn darker colors and reveal charitable messages and websites. Joe Sports Fan could get a chubby, and Mature Sports Fan discovers a way to help homeless Australian children with overbites
- Price is Right games. I personally think Plinko is the best game, but I’d be more interested in games where major league ball players would have to guess how much every day items (a gallon of milk, a Superman t-shirt from Target, a box of Band-Aids) actually costs. Then they’d have to do math to figure out that you’d have to buy about 50 gallons of milk to pay for four bleacher tickets and parking to watch one of their games.
So if you enjoy the Derby – this year they have BRACKETS!!!! – go ahead and tell your wife or girlfriend you’d rather see Albert Pujols take batting practice than to take her to dinner and movie. I’ll be reading a book and breathing easy that I don’t have to set my Fantasy lineup for the first time since there was snow on the ground.
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