Last night we went out to eat to celebrate my eldest son's, metsfan97, 16th birthday. While at our beloved eatery/watering hole we were able to see the beginning of the 2011 State Farm HR Derby. We watched the beginning of the event, and continued watching once we got home.
It is pretty cool seeing some of these monsters crush the baseball 430+ feet with some regularity, but has this event outlived it's entertainment value?
The problem I had with the event is ESPN and it's attempt at programming testosterone. Chris Berman, and his cronies, which were Nomar Garciapara and John Kruk last night tried to make the HR contest as dramatic as the splash down of Apollo 13. Hey guys, it's not. Berman's delivery is so forced and so phony, that what could have been a pretty interesting night, turned out to be rather boring.
With every home run hit, Berman kept trying to make it seem if it was more exciting than the one hit 15 seconds earlier. It' s not. Although the power these athletes have is truly amazing, it's not like they are driving a 97 MPH fastball 450 feet in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. Listening to Berman on the ESPN telecast, you would have thought Cano had won the World Series, not the HR hitting contest.
The competition of the event is lame. Guys are not necessarily competing with one another. While not taking swings, they are hanging around laughing it up with others from their league (AL/NL). It's not the World Series. Everyone is relaxed and releasing ESPN Enthusiasm, and to me, it takes away from the event.
My family and I were fortunate enough to attend the Home Run Derby and All Star Game in Pittsburgh in 2006. Being there at the event live was fantastic. I felt like a kid again, so it's not as if I am not appreciative of the talent of the players, no, I am just so sick of ESPN and their self promotion and false competitive atmosphere they try to create.
How many more years can we listen to Berman say, "Back, back, back, back, back, back - - it's gone!"? Or worse yet, "Back, back, back, back, back, back..." as it lands in mid centerfield?
What was once a great concept has run it's course. It's time for Major League Baseball to find something else to do the evening before the All Star game, and whatever it might be, please have it in the contract that Chris Berman is forbidden to announce it.
All I keep thinking is that was three hours of my life I will never get back.