MLB strikes out on the Home Run Derby

Another month, another disappointment from the MLB. It’s growing increasingly clear that most the players could care less about the All Star Game and Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, the MLB again, has dropped the ball on another event. We’re four days away from Monday’s BIG minor event and there are only five confirmed participants. Robinson Cano was the sixth confirmed player, but the Yankees removed him without his knowledge. Cano was quite displeased with the way the situation unfolded. The media knew before he did.

The process is flawed. I have seen dozens of promos, with Joe Buck saying, “so many unforgettable moments…” But there’s no spark. There’s no Stephen Strasburg and the best home run hitter Josh Hamilton is not in the HR Derby. So how does the league make the derby better?

Show them the money! How about offering a million dollars to the winner? Yes these guys are handsomely paid, but a million dollars is still a million dollars. Winner takes home seven figures. Have some other cash targets in the outfield. Set up a “hit it here” target in dead center field. Make it a huge inflatable halo. Hit it and you cash in!

How about changing the selection process? It’s already an injustice that Adam Dunn isn’t a National League All Star. Why not allow him to take part in the Derby? It’s time the MLB selects HR Derby participants who aren’t in the game. Besides Dunn, there are plenty of bombers out there, who could still make things exciting.

–Joey Votto will likely win the vote-in contest, but if Carlos Gonzalez somehow passing him, Votto would be a good addition.
–Paul Konerko won’t overtake Nick Swisher or Kevin Youkilis. He’s another bomber that would make things exciting.
–Speaking of Youk, he’d surely make things exciting. He won’t make the game, but he’s worth a shot in the derby.
–Prince Fielder’s .263 average doesn’t make him an all-star, but his 18 home runs should qualify him for the event before the event.
–Aubrey Huff isn’t a big name and he’s never been an all-star, but he’s always had pop.

Worried about travelling concerns? How about adding in Matt Kemp from the Dodgers and Mike Napoli from the Angels? A couple of local players with home run power. Kemp is 9th in the NL in HRs. Napoli is 15th in the AL, and the top home run hitting catcher in baseball. Napoli would be a good choice, because he would help represent the underrepresented Angels.

I think the greatest option would be if the MLB could have lured Ken Griffey Junior back for old time’s sake. Who wouldn’t have loved seeing Griff with his hat on backwards taking a few more pops out of the park? Hitting BP is not like hitting a 99 MPH fastball, or a wicked slider.

Baseball, and it’s best players could honor Griffey on a grand stage for his contributions to the game. The televised event would give the cleanest pure hitter of our generation with a fitting salute. The way he called it quits, hopped in a car, and drove across the country to Florida was not fitting for one of the greatest players in the last 50 years.

Once again baseball hasn’t done enough to help keep the game relevant. Bud Selig could have fixed Armando Galarraga’s near perfect game error. The MLB could have treated Bryce Harper’s draft like Lebron’s coming out party on ESPN. And now, while most people consider the HR Derby an after though, it seems the MLB is treating the Derby the same way. The HR Derby deserves a complete lineup of bangers, meat heads, and thrashers. At the very least, it should be filled with people who care.


~ by sotospeaks on July 8, 2010.

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