Judge Wins Home Run Derby! Do You Care?

The MLB has certainly changed since my childhood.  I remember looking forward to the All-Star break every year.  I never cared about the game, but I LIVED for the Derby.  It was a night where the biggest names in the sport came out to show off their power.  I would go over to my buddy’s house, and we would just stare in amazement at the ability that was being displayed on television.  That’s not the case anymore…

Aaron Judge, the 6’7″ freak from the New York Yankees, won the Home Run Derby last night.  Just about everyone expected it.  Great for him.  He was tested.  He had to hit 23 HRs in the first round alone, just to advance.  That made his second round of 13 less than satisfying, and the 11 that he had to hit in the final round…meh.

Look, I’m not saying that it was his fault that it wasn’t entertaining.  He did what he was supposed to do.  He came out and showed off how great of a hitter he has been so far this season.  Judge actually shows that hitters are on the way back.  The MLB has been a
“Pitcher’s League” ever since the Steroid Era came to light.  All the great hitters that were around when I was a kid, seem to have been juicing, which I will never condone.  However, a “Pitcher’s League” isn’t entertaining.

A “Pitcher’s League” is similar to watching a football game and seeing a “defensive struggle”.  It’s nice from time to time, but if the whole season were that way, ratings would plummet.  The MLB has had a problem in the most recent years, with trying to interest the younger generation in baseball.  It’s a slow-moving sport, that lasts hours, with very little action most of the time.

Now before you get too upset with me, I do enjoy baseball.  I don’t watch it that much anymore, especially before October, but I do enjoy it.  However, it is no secret that baseball has to do something different.  Even the MLB has addressed this by adding such things as the pitch clock, instant replay, and they have even tossed around the idea of digital umpiring.  Most fans hate the last one, as it takes the element of human error out of the sport.  My argument to that is that they want to be able to blame someone besides their favorite player for not swinging at a called strike three.

Now, let’s move on to my real problem with what happened on Monday night.

Baseball is supposed to be played outdoors. 

I don’t want to sound like an old guy that wants everything to stay the way that it has always been, but you know it, and I know it.  Baseball is supposed to be outside.  Trying to follow a fly-ball and then staring into the sun is a part of the game.  Chasing down a fly-ball, and then the wind makes it change directions is part of the game.  Not to mention, the stadium is in Florida!  What about the Florida weather screams “We need to move this indoors”?

The point was never more proven than during the first round of the Derby, when one of Aaron Judge’s home runs hit the roof, and STILL went 500′, but the governing body didn’t count it.  If you are going to disallow someone’s HR because it hit the roof, that alone should tell you that it shouldn’t be there.

I played baseball.  I used to love baseball.  The MLB needs to do something to draw eyes back to the sport.  I know they’ll never shorten the season, even though they should.  I know that there is only so much they can do about the lack of excitement in most games.  It’s not their fault.  However, in 2017 and beyond, “America’s Pastime” is struggling to keep up.  I certainly hope it does.


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