Concerned about the home run derby this year, the MLB needs to shake up the event. Defending champ Aaron Judge has said he will not participate this year and many stars may follow. Homerun leader JD Martinez may pass on the opportunity as well as Giancarlo Stanton.
The Midsummer Classic is being held in Washington this year. The MLB likes to have a hometown participant, following the situation in Kansas City a few years ago, and the league wants Bryce Harper to participate. He has been skeptical of the opportunity and giving his struggles at the plate this year he may opt to stay out.
Players in the past have said by participating in the derby it ruins their swing in the second half. MLB players are superstitious and if this is the reason why stars won’t participate then how do you fix it? I say give the fans what they want pitchers who rake and steriod era players.
This would add a ton of excitement throughout the baseball world. Viewership for the home run derby would skyrocket. Imagine Madison Bumgarner vs Clayton Kershaw, two of the best pitchers in the game battling in the derby or past sluggers like Sammy Sosa vs Mark McGwire. Here’s what a potential field could look like.
Pitchers Homerun Derby:
- Shohei Ohtani vs Bartolo Colon
- Zack Greinke vs Adam Wainwright
- Madison Bumgardner vs Clayton Kershaw
- Max Scherzer vs Jake Arrieta
A majority of these pitchers can rake. Ohtani pitches and bats for the Angles and Grenkie lives for batting. When he was a free agent a few years ago, Greinke wanted to stay in the National League just so he can bat. If this were to happen you would see those two in the finals no doubt. Will this ever happen, NO. Teams will step in and shut this down because basically, all these guys are their teams ace.
BRING BACK THE STEROID ERA:
A second possibility to add excitement to the home run derby is bringing in past players, preferable from the steroid era. The steroid era at its peak was some of the best baseball ever produced. Viewership was at an all-time high and people were loving these players smashing the cover off the ball. The battles between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds chasing the all-time home run record is unforgettable. If the MLB were to bring a few of those players back I would be fully invested.
A possible field could look like:
- Barry Bonds vs Gary Sheffield
- Ken Griffey Jr vs Rafael Palmeiro
- Mark Mcguire vs Alex Rodriguez
- Sammy Sosa vs Jose Canseco
The only player on this list not link to PEDs would be Ken Griffey Jr, but his legendary swing and backwards hat is something fans would tune in to see. Can you imagine this field during their prime, the amount of baseballs MLB would have to buy for the event would be insane. If this event did happen in 2018 it would be exciting to see these guys hit and it would also be intriguing to see who still has it.
These options are something to keep in mind because the derby needs a shakeup. Just like a few years ago when the MLB implemented the time clock. The total number of home runs in the derby actually went up. I think the derby needs more excitement and implementing pitchers and steroid era players could get the job done.