Major League Baseball tinkered with the home run derby format this year, putting the hitters in brackets because maybe it would make everyone think of March Madness, I guess. But the rule changes — combined with an hour-long rain delay — did nothing to change the fact that the event is an overlong bore that either needs to be abolished or shortened considerably.
Monday night’s event didn’t end until around midnight.
(Another brisk Home Run Derby)
— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) July 15, 2014
, and summed it all up perfectly by saying that Giancarlo Stanton’s moon shots were all that separated the event from being a complete and utter farce.
The damp Minnesota weather and the graveyard dimensions at Target Field reduced the annual Home Run Derby to a chore, a drag, calisthenics to be endured. Not even Yasiel Puig — neon sleeve down his right arm, star etched into his haircut, bat twirling in his right hand, ready to be flipped halfway to Lake Minnetonka — could enliven the bore. None of the pitches Robinson Cano’s dad, Jose, threw him cleared the fence. The zero on the scoreboard remained unchanged, and the lumber retired un-flipped.
The place yearned for energy, and then a man who looked like an outside linebacker crossed with a mountain lion stepped into the batter’s box. It was a Home Run Derby made to hate-watch, until it was redeemed by Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton.
Keep in mind: Stanton didn’t win, and hit so many homers in the first round that he received a bye into the third round. “For the sake of what mattered, it meant less Giancarlo Stanton and more Not Giancarlo Stanton. That’s what you call a backfire,” Kilgore wrote. The event was one to be endured rather than enjoyed.
This is gonna end around midnight Eastern. Back in the 50s they did Home Run Derbies during the day so the kids could see them. — Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) July 15, 2014
40,558 fans here at Target Field. An Ambien would have cost much less.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 15, 2014
But hey, at least it wasn’t like the 1990 home run derby at Wrigley Field, when eight batters combined to hit only five home runs. It must have been gloriously brief.