I’ll spare you all of my grousing about the Home Run Derby. Some people like it. Some people don’t. If you’re in the former camp, mazel tov. If you’re in the latter, may I suggest that you watch “Batman: Under the Red Hood,” which is streaming on Netflix? I watched that on Saturday and was really impressed with it. If neither of those things are to your liking, feel free to spend this evening writing letters to Major League Baseball, petitioning them to move the Futures Game to Monday night when some people will actually watch it.
That aside, we have a Home Run Derby tonight. They went with team captains picking the participants this year, with David Ortiz for the American League and Prince Fielder for the National League. The field breaks down like so:
American League: Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano.
National League: Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Matt Kemp and Matt Holliday.
You have to like the Americans here, simply for the presence of Bautista and former champ Ortiz. Oddsmakers — because for some damn reason people actually bet on this stuff — like the AL squad too, with Bautista and Ortiz holding the best odds of winning the thing. But you can’t count out Prince Fielder given that he is, after all, a former Derby champ himself.
I have to say that I agree with what a lot of people are saying, however, in that it would have been fun to see some batting practice freaks in this thing. Jayson Stark has a column on it today, and he makes a good case for guys like Wily Mo Pena — who had national writers lobbying for his inclusion — Mike Stanton and even Bryce Harper to get involved. Guys whose trouble with same-handed pitchers and difficulty with offspeed junk would not have been a problem for them in the Derby setting. Pure power. Shock and awe. Would have been a lot of fun.
Screw it, I won’t spare you the entirety of my grousing. Indeed, the best ever complaint about the Home Run Derby — voiced by Will Leitch four years ago — still holds true: “Why does an event that has eight participants require nine people to cover it?”
With that in mind, as you’re watching it this evening, listening to Chris Berman and his back-backs and listening to all of the former jocks say “man, he really hit that one!” ask yourself: is this more about baseball, or is it more about TV, money, selling ads and killing time?