Home Run Derby Gets New Format In Hopes To Cut Down On Three-Hour Duration
MLB last night announced a broad restructuring of the competition format for the annual Home Run Derby, which in recent years has come under increased criticism for being overlong and bloated. The new structure will feature 10 participants, up from the traditional eight, with five representing each league. Hitters will have seven outs each, down from 10, and after the opening round a bracket-style format will be used to winnow the competition. With the inclusion of the bracket structure, the Derby will now encompass four rounds instead of the prior three. But with no cumulative carry over of home run totals from round to round, the new format is designed to inject more head-to-head drama and a quicker pace to the event. Prior Home Run Derbies have often required at least three hours to complete, with the first round alone lasting about two hours. Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista was named captain of the AL team for this year’s Derby, with Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki serving as NL captain. ESPN again will broadcast the Derby, which carries a new title sponsorship from Gillette.