Kansas City–Okay, this is a bit of a re-purposed summer re-run for me, but I’ve been Mountain Zone Craig the last week and driving all day across 111 degree Utah and Nevada, returning home to learn Ernest Borgnine has died. Today’s only professional sport is the Home Run Derby, a once excellent idea (back when players still needed ways to make a few extra bucks in the winter) that feels over-hyped and produced to within an inch of its life these days. Sure it’s fun to see the big dogs eat, but it inevitably goes on too long and the winner isn’t always the one who put on the best show. With that in mind, I think there are ways we can spruce up the competition:
Make it Count: Since this has proven so successful for the All-Star Game, the winner gets one live-game situation of his choosing, an At Bat where all the position players must sit off the field.
Make it more Explosive: It’s a fact, people like things that blow up real good, so the HRD needs a “money ball” that explodes on contact… like one of those blue-dye cartridges bank tellers will put in the bags of money that robbers steal. A dye-splattered jersey would fetch a lot on eBay for their favorite charities, not to mention how hilarious the look on the player’s face will be! For the non-money balls, we’re going to need targets set up in the outfield that also explode on impact…new cars, outhouses, Bud Selig’s prized zucchini garden, I want the outfield and stands to look like an artillery range.
More Targets: Okay, the grounds crew doesn’t like the artillery range suggestion. In that case, fill the stands with all the teams’ mascots, tied to their seats, and win cash prizes for smacking them. Better yet, put all the sports columnists who’ve ever appeared on Around The Horn out there. Set up mini-trampolines around the outfield grass, so high pop ups have a chance to bounce out as well. This may also give those lucky kids out there the chance to bounce up and take some away. Come to think of it, put Jose Canseco in the outfield, to help head balls over the wall. Best yet, strategically place giant windows out there, and when a player smashes them, all the other players have to scatter off the field…and the last one to get away has to be yelled at by old man Selig in a tank top to pay for the damage.
Pinball Wizards: The NBA’s equivalent, the Slam Dunk Contest, suffers from some of the same drawbacks as the HRD, but with the exception that the players themselves get to call their shots. Since Babe Ruth allegedly did this in the 1932 Series, baseball has a long history, and in a Home Run Derby you wouldn’t be showing the pitcher up…so make them point to a section (and, while we’re at it, add point values to the sections). I also like the mini-tramp idea in this regard, to set up trick shots. This may require a judging element like the Slam Dunk Contest, which I’m not totally in favor of, but if one of the judges could be the Double Rainbow Guy, I guess I’m in.
A man who always calls his shots, before drinking them, Grote2DMax is up tomorrow.