So we just completed the new Home Run Derby and it was very entertaining. It was actually really interesting to see players hit homers against a clock. That drive to the end to get that one last swing before the time ran out was great. The bracket-style was a nice touch. Overall, this was fun. If the derbies are like this going forward, I can dig it.
However, this new format isn’t perfect. There are still some flaws to it.
One flaw that stood out to me the entire evening was the rule that even though it is a timed event, the pitcher cannot make the next pitch until the ball from the previous swing lands. That is a disadvantage on hitters who hit majestic moon shots. Also it adds way more pressure on the pitcher to pitch the ball immediately after the ball lands. Why did Todd Frazier win? His brother Charlie, who was his pitcher, was able to maximize the amount of pitches in the time allotment. It’s unfair but as part of the rules, the Fraziers executed it wonderfully.
Another issue that bothered me was the extra 30 seconds that get added to a round if the batter hits at least two home runs that exceed 425 feet. This was a modified rule due to the weather. The original rule, which should return next year, was that the homers had to exceed 475 feet. That’s better. But it seemed like all batters got the 30 seconds in their rounds. I find it completely unnecessary. And this is not a distance derby, but a home run derby. Hitting it 375 feet should produce the same value as a 475-foot shot.
The last thing that bothered me also has to do with time. The rounds were originally set for five minutes. It was reduced to four minutes because of weather and I still think the derby went a little too long. Five minutes would extend the derby at least an extra 30 minutes at least. Additionally, the last minute of each round will have stoppages after every home run. That would extend the derby even longer. These rules must be changed or else the derby will be a three-hour event. We don’t need that. I like the modified rules for this year. It should stay as such.
Overall, the entertainment factor was great this year. But it still has some way to go to be a better product. But at least this gave us a lot of homers.