CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – The verdict is in. The MLB got it right.
While most All-Star Skills competitions have grown stale for the average sports fan, the revisions baseball made to the Home Run Derby two years ago have refreshed the event.
The timed tournament put hitters in a position to succeed in the third edition under the new rules, and while Aaron Judge stole the show, the field proved to be a more than adept surrounding cast.
All four of the opening rounds proved to be not just entertaining, but awe-inspiring and exciting. All four opening rounds matchups were decided by one home run, with Mike Moustakas and Giancarlo Stanton coming up one short as time expired, and Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge winning in extra time.
Judge did not need all 30 seconds to finish of hometown slugger Justin Bour, but Bour posted a seemingly insurmountable 22 home runs in his four and a half minutes, the most to that point.
Not every HRD is going to have a player like Judge to hit 513 foot home runs, but removing Judge from the competition may have been the only way to make it more competitive.
The structure is quite like the “Home Run Derby” show that pitted Hall of Famers against each other in nine innings with three outs each. That structure was much better than the 10-out rule of the past few decades, but adding a race against the clock gave the event a sense of urgency.
That sense of urgency is something that commissioner Rob Manfred is looking to instill in the game, and something that reaches the younger, attention-lacking generation that game has missed out on.
It was also a whole hell of a lot of fun.
Aaron Judge was the story, but without his supporting players, his Herculean effort may have been forgotten among droves of forgotten tales. With everything set up behind him, his legend retained eyes and continues to grow.