I don’t have any super deep thoughts on it since the sort of person who can sit and over-analyze a game who’s object is essentially to hit batting practice really really far is the sort of person who needs more things to do, but I have to say that I absolutely loved this year’s Home Run Derby. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed one start to finish as much as I did last night, to be honest. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of the new format, but I’m having a hard time calling it anything but an absolute success.
I don’t know who came up with the idea of the clock, but that person had better be getting a raise. It kept things moving at a reasonable pace which was badly needed and it made every swing all night long seem important. You had to pay attention because there was never a time when what was happening didn’t matter. Every match was a close one and there was a lot more of a sense of urgency and that anything could happen than I’ve felt in a long time.
Also, doing it tournament style the way they did made things nice and easy to follow. Everybody knows how that works, so there’s no learning curve if you’ve never seen one before. Sometimes less thinking is a good thing and let’s face it, we’re not watching some dude mash soft toss with a stick because we want to be challenged.
If I had to change anything at all I’d probably make the bonus time a little harder to earn, but even that’s a tough one because every park is different and a mark that was easy to reach at Great American this year might be damn near impossible next year or the year after that as you move around the league.
Oh, one more thing. I don’t know if it was the new format or people like me complaining, but something made the folks calling it on the radio side up their game and actually do their damn job. That was a pleasant surprise when I made my annual attempt to not listen to Chris Berman.
It was a great night all around, and you couldn’t have scripted a better ending for the hometown fans. When those fans aren’t from New York, Boston or Philadelphia I love watching their unbridled happiness, so Todd Frazier pulling out what seemed like an impossible victory at nearly the last possible moment was pretty cool to see.