THE HOMERUN DERBY
The 89th Annual All Star weekend has come and gone, and Major League Baseball may have found what they have been looking for, A way to get people interested in Baseball during the Dog Days of summer.
It started back in 2015 when baseball decided to change a 20+ year format that used to see batters get to hit as any homeruns as they could before recording 10 outs. At the end of the round, the top 4 hitters would advance to the next round, with the winners of that round competing for the championship. While the homerun derby was always an exciting event, it kinda felt similar to the game of baseball to some fans who thought it was too long and dragged out.
So fast forward to the 2015 homerun derby and it was the first year of the new format. 8 players compete in bracket style single elimination games. Players would be ranked 1-8 based on their season totals for homeruns. Each batter would go head to head with an opponent and get 4 minutes each to hit homeruns. If you hit 2 homeruns 440 ft or longer, you get extra time, and if the players are tied, there is a 60 second swing off to break the tie. The first few years were different, but it brought more excitement to an already exciting event. Fast forward to this year, and the new format is working out better than they could have hoped. Bryce Harper put on a show of shows in his home park, most rounds ended with both players being within a homerun or 2, and the MLB has introduced a stat-cast broadcast, which if you are a nerd like me, was awesome. They had Bill Nye talking about Launch Angles, exit velocity, and more scientific facts. I think if it keeps up this way, the MLB can gain some of their popularity back from the NBA and NFL
THE ALL-STAR GAME
The MLB All-Star game has had some ups and downs in recent years. Over the past 5 years before this past game, the AL was 5-0 and the Starting pitchers ERA for those games were 1.29 in the AL and 8.82 in the NL. Not to mention that the AL was outscoring the NL 20-9 in the last 5 Games and the AL since 1997 is 18-3-1 in the All Star game, the NL needed something.
However, when I first saw the 2 line ups I immediately thought to myself “Oh AL is winning this one no problem”. Look at their line up. 6 of their first 7 hitters in their lineup are in the Top 10 in homeruns. the line up featured 2018 MVP favorite Mookie Betts, 2017 MVP Jose Altuve, Mike Trout, then the guy who has more homeruns than anyone in the last 2 years JD Martinez, the guy with the most extra base hit’s in the last 2 years Jose Ramirez, MLB’s golden boy and 2017 AL ROY Aaron Judge, and probably the best hitting SS in baseball Manny Machado….yeah Ill take that line up any day.
But in the 2018 All-Star game we witnessed a historic night. First off, all the runs except 1, came via the homerun. The teams set an MLB Record 10 homeruns for the game, including a pair of teamates going back to back for just the 2nd time in MLB history (1975). As well as the fact it was the 1st time in 16 years that there were game tying or changing homeruns hit in the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th innings. It was one of the greatest All-Star game I could remember watching and I am excited to see what the future of All Star Games hold for us.