To say that Dodger fans were disappointed with Yasiel Puig’s Home Run Derby performance last night would be a gross understatement. In fact, his lightening fast elimination in the first round had Twitter buzzing immediately after his seven and out/three minutes of infamy (if it was even that long) begging that no Dodger ever be allowed to participate in a Home Run Derby again – at least not until Giancarlo Stanton becomes a Dodger.
Puig hit exact zero home runs – zip, zilch, nada. In fact, his first swing resembled a swinging bunt with the ball hitting the pitcher’s screen and he never even came remotely close to hitting one out. Puig was the only participant (out of 10) to not hit a home run. It was, in every sense of the word, embarrassing for Dodger fans and gives Puig Haters yet something else to bag on him about.
But Puig isn’t the only Dodger with an epic HRD fail. In 2011 Matt Kemp participated in the Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Arizona where he hit only one home run in the first round and was quickly eliminated. According to Eric Stephen from True Blue LA, the Dodgers have hit a total of 10 home runs in seven Home Run Derbies – half of them by Hee-Seop Choi in 2005.
Realistically, aside from the hype and hoopla in the weeks leading up to the annual All-Star Game, the Home Run Derby is nothing more than a passing thought and were it not for Google, most baseball fans would be hard pressed to name the last five winners. However, when you go ‘0 fer’ in the Home Run Derby, it’s like walking in the door of Cheers – everybody knows your name.
As for the new revised format of the HRD, if the intent was to speed things up, MLB (or whoever is in charge of it) failed as miserably as Puig did. Even factoring in the 45-minute rain delay (at a ballpark that never should have been built without a roof over it), the contest took over three hours. Perhaps MLB should come up with yet another format because this one was a yawner.
It’s no secret that all baseball fans ‘dig the long ball,’ so how about this:
- Have four players from each league.
- Allow each participant seven outs (with the gold or orange or whatever color ball they choose after the sixth out).
- Have the two participants from each league with the longest home run move onto the semi-final round.
- Allow each semi-finalist seven outs (ditto on the colored balls).
- Have the participant from each league in the semi-final round with the longest home run move onto the final round.
- Give each of the two finalists seven outs (ditto on the colored balls).
- The guy who hits the longest home run in the final round wins.
- In the event of a tie (although unlikely) simply go back to each finalist’s next longest home run, and so on, if necessary.
Boom – this thing is over in an hour and a half tops and there is no doubt who the real home run king is and the fans would absolutely love it.
Anyway, the good news is that we don’t have to even think about this again for another eleven months or so.
Now… “Play ball!”