The MLB Home Run Derby has always been the MLB’s premier attraction for the All-Star game festivities. Just like the NBA dunk contest, the Home Run Derby is the engine that turns the all-star weekend wheel for the MLB. Last year was one of the rare occasions that a lack-luster derby lineup was greatly outdone by the on-field quality of the All-Star game itself.
This year has to be different.
With the Mid-summer classic being held at Progressive Field in Cleveland, a noted belt-box of a park, Major League Baseball needs to try its damnedest to get every notable home run hitter in the league to participate in this year’s event. And they may already be on the right track.
Rookie sensation Vlad Guerrero Jr bit the bullet and was the first man to sign up for the home run hitting contest, a HUGE get for MLB, as Guerrero is already one of the most recognizable faces in the game.
But the league can’t be celebrating Vladdy Jr’s participation. They need to keep pushing.
I don’t care what it takes, but this needs to be the best Home Run Derby the World has ever seen.
In an age where home runs are easier to come by than HPV (STD jokes are funny, right?), there are plenty of options for the remaining 7 participants. But they need to be the right choices.
The League messed up big time last year by just having the home run leaders partake in the contest. Guys like Freddie Freeman, Jesus Aguilar, Alex Bregman, and Rhys Hoskins, while objectively great hitters are not needle movers. What we need are big guns.
We don’t need guys that hit the most home runs, but players that hit the furthest ones.
I’m talking about the monsters like Gary Sanchez, Joey Gallo, Pete Alonso, Josh Bell, Luke Voit, Nomar Mazara, and Kyle Schwarber. Guys that hit the ball very far and hit the ball very hard. The goal for the 2019 home run derby should be for someone to hit a ball 500 feet or further. Put an additional cash prize on it to really sweeten the pot.
I don’t care if it’s hokey or what, but the participants should be guys that will create great content. If the MLB wants to be able to market itself, what better way than to have the longest hitters in the league CRANKING 490 foot home runs for shits and gigs. That would look phenomenal on Twitter and Instagram.
Hell, Nomar Mazara hit a 500 foot home run literally last night and Twitter lost its mind.
NOMAR MAZARA WENT 505 FEET
Tied for the longest recorded HR in statcast history pic.twitter.com/xW8kn2nZPZ
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) June 22, 2019
Imagine that, but 8 players that are capable of hitting the ball into a different timezone with every single swing.
Make it happen, MLB. Someway… somehow. Just make it happen.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images