Going Deep on the Home Run Derby
This is not exactly meant to be critical … it’s more like a befuddled observation. We live in a time of technological wonders. Some are scary. Some are inspiring. We — and by “we,” I’m not talking about myself, specifically — can send probes billions and billions of miles away in space. We have cured so many diseases that once indiscriminately destroyed life. We have invented little sweepers that take bread crumbs right off a tablecloth.
How can we not have found a way to show the Home Run Derby on television where viewers can actually keep up with the action?
It’s stupefying. Monday night’s Home Run Derby was a whole lot of fun, and I’m not just saying that because I correctly picked six out of seven rounds — and both of the eventual finalists and winner.* I mean, you had Adley Rutschman switch-hitting home runs, which was wonderful. You had Julio Rodriguez going bananas for an enraptured home crowd. You had Randy Arozarena mugging for the crowd, something he does so well. You had Vladimir Guerrero live-tweeting his son’s Derby triumph, which is such a happy thing.
*Look, I’m not saying that I’m the greatest Home Run Derby prognosticator who ever lived. I’m also not saying that I’m not.
It was a whole lot of fun.
But there has to be a way to televise the Derby where we fans can keep up with the home runs in real-time. There just has to be.
This has been a problem for years. Ever since the Derby has gone to the latest format with each player having a time limit rather than a specific number of outs — and we’ll get into that in a minute — the swings come very fast. And because they come so fast, ESPN has struggled to simultaneously give us the three basic things we want: