Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Derby

 I stayed up to watch the home run derby last evening. That is an unusual thing for me these days staying up past eight o'clock. I haven't found many shows worth staying up for. I suppose I'm just getting old. All these reality shows that are so far from reality are just confusing to me. I don't even know what any of the newer shows are about. I did record Candy Crush because my wife wanted to see it. It's a game show of sorts. Not as much fun as Family Feud or Wheel of Fortune though. I can see where it could be entertaining for some. But the home run derby, now that is special. There is just something visceral about watching professionals hit a ball as far as they can ! My man Aaron Judge blasted a baseball over 513 feet ! Now that is awesome.
 Every year major league baseball tampers with the format used for the derby. It is a way of keeping it fresh and fair. Total number of home runs is how you win. Me, I'd change it to total number of balls hit the farthest ! You would have to hold the derby on a field that is unencumbered by a roof or an unsurmountable wall. Judge slammed a shot that hit in the roof that didn't count. How far would it have traveled ? We don't know but could guess based on mathematics. I haven't heard any estimation on that shot. But that is what the fans really want to see, the long ball. The players talking strategy will tell you to hit line drives, the shortest and quickest way to hit a homer. That is simply because of the time constraint. This year they could earn extra time by hitting some big shots. In the end it didn't make much difference. The winner didn't need the extra time, he didn't even use all the time he had.
 I'm thinking we allow the batters to hit a set number of balls, say ten or so. Then we add the total distance those balls traveled. Yeah you would have to fool around with that format. Maybe only a set number of balls could be " pitched " and you get your total distance from that. It is easy enough to measure those hits these days. The emphasis should be on distance though. That is why I watch and I believe why the majority of folks do. To make it fair any ball that is hit counts. It would encourage the players to hit it long that much is sure. Maybe you could award trophies for total distance and the longest shot !
 I get it. When you are trying to win a contest you figure a strategy. The format used this year was based on time. Hitting the ball in a straight line takes the least amount of time. The next pitch couldn't be thrown until the ball landed. I'm not certain that had a real impact on the outcome. Some said it helped the " smaller " players that don't posses the power of the big men. Yes, if it clears the wall it is a home run. I understand that. But it is the monster hits that we all want to see. I didn't see any of it but they did have high school and college kids competing in a home run derby. That tells me that it is possible for those kids to hit a homer in that park. Impressive for those younger guys but not so impressive for the pro ! I want to see that ball crushed !
 Anyway, it was worth staying up for. I really did enjoy the obvious good time the players were having. It is hard to remember just how young some of those guys are. When you are 63, 23 seems pretty darn young, just kids really. Some will tell you how hard they have worked to get where there are. I understand that. What I wonder is if they understand the gift they were given. The ability to be a " professional " playing a game is a gift. It takes more than passion, more than practice and more than being in the right place at the right time. It takes a gift. By the time they are forty it is over. They will be the old veterans, the old guys. I've seen a few come and go. I guess that has been my gift, I get to watch. Play Ball ! As the new slogan says " ain't baseball great " Yes, I think it is. It may not be as popular as it once was neither is Roller derby.