Obviously looking to make friends, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune argues that the historic Wrigley Field scoreboard should be replaced:
I would find out if there’s a way to keep the exterior of the monster intact and replace the guts with the digital works for a giant replay screen and modern scoreboard. If it is too delicate for such a reconstruction, I would build a replica that keeps the exact same dimensions and exterior that houses a video board.
All of this is based on the assumption that the team (a) could realize $20 million a year in revenue from a modern jumbotron; and (b) will not be allowed to build a modern jumbotron behind the left field bleachers while keeping the old scoreboard as-is.
If those assumptions are true — and I have no way of knowing if they are — Rogers is right. The scoreboard is cool and quaint, but it’s also antiquated. I’d keep it if at all possible, but if it’s preventing the Cubs from maximizing revenue and keeping fans from getting the sort of information that they’ve grown accustomed to getting in other parks, it’s kind of a problem.
My guess: they’re able to build that jumbotron in left or they’re able to build a new centerfield scoreboard that incorporates both video boards and the pleasing aesthetics of the current one.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.