Mookie Betts Suggests Alternative Event To Replace Home Run Derby
Red Sox RF Mookie Betts believes it might be "time to rethink the viability" of the Home Run Derby, which has been part of the MLB All-Star festivities since '85, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Betts said, "Do something else, or take it out. Don't even do it. Anything you do too much, people are going to get tired of it." Betts suggested a "skills competition" as a replacement for the Derby, and "explained that there is absolutely a blueprint for such an endeavor," pointing to the youth baseball tournament put on at the Baseball HOF in Cooperstown each year. Some of the events included in the competition are "timing runners and something called 'Around the Horn,' where an entire team is asked to execute a series of throws to the bases and from the outfield." Betts "thinks it could work with the game's greatest players." He said this would be "something different at a time it would seem we need something different." Betts: "Something like a throwing from the outfield contest. Some type of throwing contest. Trying to throw into a barrel or infielders have to take a ground ball to your left, ground ball to your right, slow roller and they have to throw into a screen with a box. That might be something" (WEEI.com, 7/10).
WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT? ESPN’s Karl Ravech said of the Derby participants, “It’s a really interesting field, because you don’t have the (Aaron) Judges and you don’t have the (Giancarlo) Stantons, but you do have people and personalities -- one who you’ve never heard of in (Dodgers 3B) Max Muncy and one who is becoming a baseball star ... in (Cubs 2B) Javier Baez." Ravech said of Nationals RF Bryce Harper participating, “The question is going to be the idea that you’re sort of the ambassador, this is your town and everybody’s expecting you to deliver.” ESPN’s Mark Teixeira said, “He’s the only guy in the field who has ‘pressure’ of anybody. And, will he rise up to that pressure and be the guy that wins it at his home park? Which, we've seen a lot of guys win at their home park, or will it be so much and so much hoopla and he'll do a million interviews that by the time he gets to the derby, he's already exhausted?” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN, 7/11). ESPN’s Mike Golic Jr. said of the Derby participants, “The average age of this year’s participants is the youngest in history, so none of the Home Run Derby participants were alive for the first Home Run Derby in 1985. We have got the freshest crops of home run hitters possible” (“Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio, 7/12). In California, Jeff Fletcher wondered why Angels CF Mike Trout has "annually rejected the opportunity" to participate in the Derby. Trout said, "I'd rather just have that night with my family, spend time with them. ... I just want to relax and enjoy the day. Just watch it. ... I just never had any interest in doing it." He added the Derby "looks tiring" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 7/11).