The Home Run Derby has had a tough few years, providing us with some great thrills but great disappointment in the second half of the season for many of the young stars. Now players are turning down the Derby for rest. Will it eventually be passed for something else?
The Derby is just like the All-Star game. It’s going to be more watered down as the years go on. Now the All-Star rosters are so big that many players casual fans don’t recognize make the squad. The expanded pitching staffs (that are necessary) mean close to 50 players can be selected as the best in their league. Then some get into the Home Run Derby, and before you know it you don’t have to accomplish much to become one of the elite.
MLB should be rewarded for the All Star game despite what has happened to the level of talent. The infamous 7-7 tie and the protection of the players have made the game almost unwatchable. Then, the World Series home field spin and increased fan voting made the game a pretty solid experience. It doesn’t compare to the NBA or NHL All Star games, with their incredible skill competitions, three point shooting, fastest shot, and above all else, and incredibly exciting high scoring contests. And the Pro-Bowl is pretty irrelevant.
The Home Run Derby is pretty confusing to me. You are a pro athlete, paid millions of dollars to hit a ball. Plenty of players have played in the Home Run Derby and they have had great seasons. Players used to love to have the honor of participating in this event. This is just another step in the direction of athletes not doing things because they don’t want to. Like they don’t owe this to the fans or are trying to have some fun. We just got done with the World Cup, where players train and spend a lot of time away from their families to represent their country in their sport. It just seems like a little less thinking about them and more for the fans would be welcomed. Injuries are one thing, but not wanting to do it “just because” is stupid.
The Home Run Derby and the All Star game won’t go anywhere, and it has gotten better. But this trend of people dropping out is only going to get worse and worse.
Players won’t ever be as serious about this exhibition as back in the 60’s. But it would be nice if they at least acted like it mattered to them, or they were honored to be selected for any of the events.