The Home Run Derby Is Officially Boring | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

The Home Run Derby Is Officially Boring

Since its inclusion in 1985, I have always felt that the home run derby was, without a doubt, the highlight of the All-Star break.  There was nothing more exciting than watching the most prolific home run hitters put on an unparalleled display of power, as a way of giving back to the major league baseball fan base.  Baseball’s best power hitters seemed honored to be selected for the derby, and it was clear that they were whole-heartedly competing.

However, that was then.

Now, the home run derby is an embarrassing, lesser version of what it once was, featuring out-dated commentators and shitty, intolerable music that can be heard three states over.  It has become an overly publicized, commercial event that fails to recognize and compliment the most impressive players in baseball.  What happened to the days where guys like Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, Juan Gonzalez and Jim Thome battled each other, round by round, while creating an electrifying environment within the given park?  I’d prefer a derby featuring juicers like McGwire and Sosa than the anticlimactic atmosphere that I had to sit through last night.  I thought that baseball’s all-star game and home run derby actually reflected the best players in baseball?  It seems as though the derby has now become an event much like the Pro-Bowl, where the players would rather protect their bodies and swings than participate in an elite event that was once a highlight of the MLB season.  It’s a running joke.

If the MLB really wants to create an exciting derby and All-Star game, they need to eliminate the fan voting, which continues to favor players in major markets as well as those in the central and eastern time zones.  Similarly, fan voting has traditionally favored the longevity of a player’s career, as opposed to what a younger player might be doing in the now. Considering that only those elected to the actual game can participate in the derby, isn’t the MLB putting itself at a disadvantage by opting to use this process?

If they wanted to have a legitimate home run derby, doesn’t it make more sense to use fan voting for that?  Perhaps they could even take the four hitters from each league, who possess the longest average home run, and pit them against each other?  It would be a great opportunity for the guys who can pulverize a baseball, but aren’t necessarily all-star caliber players, to receive some recognition and participate in the festivities.  Who wouldn’t want to see Russell Branyan, or Garrett Jones, or Justin Upton, or Jim Thome, or Mark Reynolds, or Carlos Quentin repeatedly hit tape measure bombs?

However, I can’t place all of the blame on Major League Baseball, ESPN did their best to make the presentation of last night’s derby utterly intolerable.  Over the past year, the majority of their most credible baseball analysts and on-air personalities have wisely gravitated to the MLB Network, and the Baseball Tonight crew has become comparable to Vince Vaughan’s second-rate news crew in Anchorman.  I guess that it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that we had Chris Berman, Joe Morgan and Bobby Valentine covering the derby last.

Seriously, ESPN?  Chris Berman, Joe Morgan and Bobby Valentine? As Hawk Harrelson would say, “Mercy!”

Berman was irritating and irrelevant when I was growing up, and I don’t even have the words to describe how I feel about him now.  He’s not a legitimate analyst; he’s just an obnoxious presence at all times.  He’s like Glenn Beck: an entertainer pretending to be an educator.  Despite his status as a baseball legend, Joe Morgan is a fucking dinosaur and has clearly become totally disconnected from modern baseball.  He cannot follow the speed of a conversation and has therefore been reduced to a series of antiquated expressions and personal anecdotes.  I’ll spare Bobby V here just because him sneaking back into the dugout after being ejected, sporting a fake mustache and shades is hilarious.  The best part of their 2½ hours on the air was when Will Ferrell stopped by and provided some comedic relief for a few minutes.  Still, it even seemed like those guys managed to make him feel uncomfortable.

As if the constant blabbering of Berman, Morgan and Valentine wasn’t bad enough, those of us who tuned in were treated to the stadium’s background music, which I would honestly describe as the worst shit that I have ever heard.  Call it euro-trance, club music, reggaeton, call it whatever you want.  It sucked and was honestly the most irritating aspect of the entire derby.  It’s bad news when you are eagerly anticipating a four-minute, Joe Morgan story.  I would have rather listened to an entire set by Train than sit through last night’s musical selections.  I would have even preferred the sound of 50,000 vuvuzelas to all of that crap that was played last night.

Oh, and worst of all, we had to sit through the 2½ hours of lackluster performances, brutal music, bumbling commentary, and extensive delays just to see David Ortiz prevail.

Will the state of the derby change by next year, or will it only be worse? Who knows?  All I know is that I will utilize the mute button for 2011 Home Run Derby.

1 Comment

  1. brian says:

    ESPN WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO LEARN THAT JOE MORGAN IS A DUMB ASS, HE DOSENT KNOW THE PLAYERS NAMES AND WHEN HE DOES HE CAN EVEN SAY IT RIGHT. I CANT SIT THROUGH ANOTHER HOMERUB DURBY WITH HIM AND IM SURE IM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO FEELS THAT WAY….I DONT CALL HIM JOE MORGAN I CALL HIM RAMBLES…PLEASE FIND SOMEONE ELSE

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