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2012 Home Run Derby: 3 Ways to Make it Better

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I don’t care much for the Home Run Derby. Never really have. I usually watch parts of it, but I can’t stay in front of a TV and watch the entire spectacle. And what little time I will spend watching, I’ll have the mute button handy to avoid as many “Back-back-back..blah-blah-blah” home run calls as possible. I’m sure it’s better in person, but I would be much more interested in reactions from other players than actually watching guys swinging for the fences.

If you knew that I was such a fan of small-ball, speed and defense, it really wouldn’t surprise you that I’m not crazy about the homerfest that prefaces the annual All-Star Game.

But my apathy for this event won’t prevent me from making a few suggestions that would help the affair.

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First, I would create second and third levels in the stands in the outfield that would offer bonus points for hitting longer home runs. In some stadiums, this could simply be the upper decks. But the hitters should be rewarded for longer, more prodigious clouts. After all, the longer the home run, the more fans seem to get excited. I would make the third level almost impossible to reach. The scoring would be simple and easy for fans to grasp. A point for a home run in the first level, reaching the second level would be three points and the third level even more.

Secondly, I would divide the home run area into nine sections from foul pole to foul pole. Hitters would receive bonus points for each section reached with home runs. That rewards hitters who have power to all fields. Again, simple scoring, would reward hitters a bonus point for hitting a home run into a second section. Then maybe even two bonus points for the third section. Seeing guys trying to go oppo could be fun.

But the biggest change would be to make this a bracket competition. Have each of the four AL hitters go head-to-head with a counterpart from the NL. Follow that with semifinals and finals. I understand that means the players hitting the second- and third- most home runs may not continue, but it would create some drama throughout the night. I would suggest three innings for each match, and allow only three “outs” per inning.

Those three changes just might be enough to pique my interest for the entire night.

- Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)