This was the weirdest Home Run Derby I have ever seen.
Sure, the normal signs of baseball’s yearly slugfest were there.
The majestic moonshots into the upper deck.
The frozen ropes, which just clear the wall.
The kids colliding with one another in the outfield and the bullpens.
Chris Berman’s usual “Back, back gone” cadence.
There were, however, subtle differences.
Maybe they were differences only to me, because I’ve forgotten almost everything about last year’s derby, but here goes.
(I should take this time to mention I didn’t turn the derby on until way after the rules were explained. Now I have a small excuse if what you are about to read is really stupid.)
1.The playoff-style brackets are cool.
Is this a prequel to this fall’s College Football Playoff? The world may never know.
2. Why are there only seven outs per hitter? Was 10 too long? Do they not watch real baseball games? Who are they to worry about the derby taking too long? We already had a rain delay. What’s three more outs per guy?
3. How do you hit two home runs in the first round, one in another, one in another and still reach the finals?
I’m looking at you, Todd Frazier.
At least no one’s going to accuse anyone of juicing at the derby.
4. Who cares if the ball’s thrown 70 miles an hour? Yoenis Cespedes can hit. He’s got 30 home runs at the break. Now he joins Ken Griffey Jr. (who won in both 1998 and 1999) as the only hitters to win the Home Run Derby in back-to-back years.
It was no Josh Hamilton 20-plus-in-a-round performance, but there were some big bombs.
Bring on the All-Star Game.