The home run derby continues to fill an important niche in the All-Star break. I know, I know, there's nothing new about it, and if one of your favorite players isn't in the thing, there's little to root for.
You might say that the event, broadcast on ESPN, is getting old, and simply no longer interesting. But this is one time I need to defend a boring, made-for-TV sporting event.
I still remember my first (and only) All-Star game which I attended, in Philadelphia, in 1976. That year, that's all there was -- an All-Star game. But now, thousands of fans who can't score tickets to the main event can enjoy a night at the ballpark on Monday. And there was no All-Star coverage on TV back in 1976 on the off-night before the ASG. There was no All-Star game banter on Baseball Tonight on ESPN. There wasn't even an ESPN.
So the Home Run Derby Presented by Some Corporate Sponsor fills a huge programming void for fans wanting a big baseball fix during the All-Star break. And, along with the fun All-Star Fan Fest, gives fans in the All-Star city a lot to do during the All-Star break.
MAKING THE HOME RUN DERBY RELEVANT AGAIN:
Great job MLB did by making the All-Star game at least somewhat relevant by giving World Series home field advantage to the winning league. That's led to 6 of the 9 home-field-winning-All-Star league winners also going on to win the World Series.
That makes the MLB All-Star game the only contest of its type that can affect the outcome of the championship season or the playoffs. But what about the Home Run Derby? How is that going to maintain relevance in the wake of it getting stale? My suggestion? Lets try giving home field advantage in the All- Star game to the league that wins the Home Run Derby.
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