We are a little over two weeks away from the MLB’s annual mid-summer classic, where old stars such as Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis will be competing with some of 2018’s breakout stars like Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis. While the all-star game in of itself is fun, the league has spent considerable effort shifting marketing towards the Home Run Derby.
However, this has seemed to have backfired, as the MLB’s most marketable home run hitter, Aaron Judge, won’t take part in the Home Run Derby.
“I enjoyed [The derby], but I don’t think I really needed to go out there and do it again. I won it once. One and done is good for me.” – Aaron Judge to New York Times
The MLB has long hoped their exhibition events, like the Derby and the actual All-Star game itself, be competitive. Heck, they had their all-star game be a pivotal part of determining who wins the World Series for about fifteen years.
However, that shouldn’t be the case. While, in theory, the eight-man roster for the derby should be the eight best home run hitters, it never works out that way. There will always be guys pulling out or getting hurt, to the point where that isn’t viable.
So why not make the Home Run Derby consist of the most fun guys to watch? They may not be the guys that will hit the ball 550 feet but allow the guys who bring the most swagger, name recognition, and overall fun to the event.
The Derby shouldn’t be a competitive event that defines who the best home run hitter is. The best home run hitter in baseball shouldn’t be determined by who can hit the most batting practice fastballs over the wall. Quite honestly, if anyone truly determines the best home run hitter in baseball by this one-day exhibition, I don’t know what to tell them.
It’s hilarious to me just how much the MLB cares about this event when they try to suppress the fun that comes with the event by forcing relatively irrelevant, non-marketable players onto the game’s biggest stage.
As I’ve gone into many times before, it’s clear that the MLB does not care for marketing the personality of the player like the NBA does. This is why I’m assuming this year’s field will consist of such players like Joey Gallo and Max Muncy. Sure, these guys are good home run hitters, but they aren’t going to make the event more fun to watch. I can’t imagine Max Muncy being a fun watch in a home run hitting contest.
At the end of the day, the Home Run Derby isn’t going to be the most fun with the top eight guys on the home run leaderboard. Tomorrow, I’m going to be releasing my wishlist for the Derby’s roster, and it won’t just be the guys with the most home runs. It will be the guys who bring the most intrigue and fun to the event because that’s what it is for.