MLB Changes to Timed Format for the Home Run Derby
MLB has announced more changes to the Home Run Derby this upcoming All-Star Weekend. Changes that will be for the better.
It was about a year ago that I attended All-Star Weekend in Minneapolis. I was super excited for the Home Run Derby, almost more so than the game itself. It was nowhere near as much fun as I hoped it would be.
The event went about four hours, and it felt overly long. Add in the fact that Minneapolis was experiencing a cool night, with temperatures in the 50s, it wasn't nearly as enjoyable as it could of been. Take an hour off and it would have helped.
Apparently MLB also believes that. In a press release sent out on Sunday, MLB announced a new format for the derby. This is the second change in format in two years. This year will include eight batters in a single elimination tournament format, and will have a time limit.
Each batter will be given five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. Any swing that doesn't result in a home run will NOT count against the batter like it previously did. There will also be timing additions for home run distance (435ft+ adds 30 seconds) and also if a home run is it within one minute of time running out (stops clock until next non-home run).
The league has also switched the derby into a bracket system. Instead of taking the top four home run hitters, it will be player vs. player in each round. This could add to the drama, and hopes to maybe capture a little "July Madness" if you will.
Strategically this will also keep players in the box, something implemented with the pace-of-play rules, and swinging at more pitches. Players will have to be well conditioned and focused under a time structure.
The new format is interesting and will be fun to watch this year as the test it out. The 2015 Home Run Derby is scheduled for Monday, July 13 on ESPN and ESPN 99.1