Saturday, July 19, 2014

How To Fix The Home Run Derby, By Me

Here's how you fix the Home Run Derby:

  1. You hire some game designers to fix the rules. Not television guys, not ad execs, not front office guys. Game designers. Because it's a game.
  2. You make sure the stars are there. The NBA's slam dunk contest has gone completely irrelevant because they're down to inviting backup power forwards from the D-League to participate. The stars don't want to risk "damaging their brand" so they don't come out any more. Well, the hell with that. The HR Derby sells the idea of the biggest and best sluggers in the sport lining up to smash baseballs into thin paste. That means that the stars have to be there. The Angels don't get to say no; Mike Trout goes. Because as nice a story as Justin Morneau coming back to Minny to hit a few taters is, it's not HOLY CRAP MIKE TROUT JUST PUT THAT ONE INTO SOUTH DAKOTA.
  3. You make the rules understandable and simple. When the people broadcasting your event don't seem to quite get how it works, you've made your rules too complicated. Keep it clean so viewers can understand the action and focus on that, not trying to figure out the format.
  4. You make it a direct competition, not the weird golf-like thing they've been doing for years or the weirder hybrid version they unveiled this year. 8 guys. 4 from each league. Paired off by their team captains to go mano-a-mano. Winner advances, loser goes home. This has the additional advantage of giving you more frequent dramatic climaxes. The current format suffers from a bad case of anticlimax after Cespedes goes on one of his runs. Having a make or break moment every other competitor ups the tension.
  5. Keep it level. Everybody gets the same BP pitcher out there throwing to them. That saves switch-up time and ensures a level playing field. 
  6. Tell everyone kvetching about how long the HR Derby takes to go jump in a lake. Except me.

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