Monday, July 20, 2009

2009 MLB Home Run Derby (Yawn)

Last night I gathered with friends at a local sports bar to watch MLB’s best sluggers send balls flying towards the arch. A good reason to get with friends, drink some Leinenkugels, and be entertained by the always entertaining Home Run Derby. Sorry, sorry…the State Farm Home Run Derby. But seriously, the most entertaining part of the night was watching some tiny girl order 18 wings, then keeping an eye on her to see if she could eat them all. She didn’t by the way, but it was a good effort.

And I guess it was a good effort by the hitters who participated to entertain us. But they didn’t. It really seemed like one of the more lack luster Home Run Derbys in recent memory. Where was Josh Hamilton hitting all those bombs after kicking the habit of being bombed? Where were Sosa and McGuire launching them out of Fenway? Jesus, and I can’t believe I’m saying it, it was fun watching Bonds knock the shit out of the ball and wondering how far they would go and many he would launch (for the record, Bonds is an ass hole). So where did it all go wrong, and what can be done? Let’s take a look.

It started painfully with the new State Farm contest to win a car, or a house, or some shit. It took longer to explain all the rules then it did for Albert Pujols to hit two dribblers to left. But then Cruz came up and hit 11 in the 1st round, and hit most of them way out. We could only imagine what Pujols and Fielder would do. Speaking of Fielder, he was next and also hit 11 including a couple bombs. Then….snooze city. A collection of guys hitting 5 or 7….or less.Mild drama when 3 players tied for 5 and had to go to a swing off. Which we quickly renamed a whack off. Jack off got some votes, but seemed too childish. Speaking of childish, we both giggled when Steve Phillips said all these players can go both ways.

So what can we do? Lets start with the obvious….bribe them. Offer the winner a million dollars, let him give half to charity and watch players knock each other down to get into this thing. How about we suspend the drug policy a couple weeks before the contest so these players can get juiced back up. I mean don’t we want to see the ball fly out at an alarming pace for this. And with the charity thing, it’s for a good cause. There also needs to be some kind of rule that at least one of the players entered needs to have some great story. Back from injury, or rehab, or dying relative. I mean everyone loved Josh Hamilton last year. Loved him to the point that I think ESPN forgot that he didn’t win…Justin Morneau did. And that’s the point. Nobody remembers that and nobody really cares because it was a blast getting caught up in Hamilton’s story and watching him bash the shit out of the ball.

So move the plate up, or juice the balls, or juice the players, (or both) then get out of the way and let the fun begin!

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