MLB had their Home Run Derby last night, and unless you were one of the Boys and Girls Clubs getting a piece of that giant check on display at the end, it was absolutely pointless. Prince Fielder won an event with no real ebb and flow that was marred by too many guys getting batting-practice-quality pitches and taking them, sometimes several in a row.
It was irritating on several levels. Brandon Inge, who had no business being there, didn’t leave the yard once. and The rules didn’t make any sense, including the “five-swing” first-round tiebreaker. The players didn’t wear their caps, which is fine, because the league-specific caps were ugly. And the charitable promotions and energy drink product placements, each seemed to be more nauseating than the one before it.
But the biggest bust of the night was ESPN’s Ball Track, or as I called it last night, SpermBall. If you didn’t see it, it was a direct ripoff of FOX’s “glow puck” from the 1990s. It was one of those silly colorful CG things that hadn’t been totally debugged and, worse, added nothing to the telecast, which was beyond salvation. The silver lining of it all is that the All-Star Game is tonight, and it couldn’t possibly be worse than a Home Run Derby game that will need a serious overhaul before next summer.