As a huge baseball fan, there's nothing I love more than watching replays of my favorite players slamming balls out of the park during the nightly sports recaps. That's why MLB's Home Run Derby is such a treat for me. It's amazing to watch these super human sluggers accomplish what mere mortals cannot, swing after swing, blasting balls into space like it's the easiest thing to do since chewing gum.
The problem with the Home Run Derby is that it is long. Super long. With that in mind, and with the 2015 Home Run Derby scheduled for July 13th, MLB Communications Tweeted out interesting and much needed changes for 2015.
This isn't the first time MLB has made Home Run Derby changes. Last year the players had an unlimited amount of time to hit as any home runs as possible, but were only allowed 7 outs, down from 10 outs the prior years. The telecast was still over 3 hours long even with that change. This year, there are no more outs. Instead, the players are on a timer, which should greatly reduce the length of the Derby. This is a good thing! Before you get too confused, I'll break it down.
New Rules Simply Explained
- Say hello to the clock: Players have 5 minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. There are no more "outs" to count as in precious years. Instead of wasting time waiting for the perfect pitch, batters will swing like they do in batting practice.
- Timer starts with first pitch and stops for any home run hit during the final minute of competition. The clock will start back up again if a hit does not clear the wall or a batter swings and misses.
- Players will be rewarded with bonus time if their home run blast exceeds at least 420 feet in each round. (See chart below for different time awards.)
- Single-elimination eight-player bracket: Players are placed in an eight-player bracket that is seeded based on regular-season home run totals as of July 7. If a tie should occur in one of the three rounds, players will compete in a 90-second swing-off. Loser of each bracket is immediately eliminated.
Simple, right? As viewers we get to watch our favorites hit balls for 5 minutes before moving on to the next player. This should lead to much more excitement than watching our faves wait for the perfect pitch. I think it will also drive more players to come out and put on a fun show for the crowd.
The Home Run Derby isn't rocket science, but it IS fun. I'm excited about the new format and looking forward to see who wins. Will it be Yoenis Cespedes again?
We will find out July 13th!