I was watching some of the Home Run Derby last night with my son and marveled at his fascination while he watched. The enthusiasm he had whenever a ball went over the wall, especially when they fell into the fountain at Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium, was off the charts. (Maybe I can get him to CitiField next year to see balls hit to Shea Bridge.) To him the Derby was electric.
But when I checked my Twitter feed I got a whole different view of the Derby. It was a negative view. People saying how it was useless and a waste of time and other things that I won’t repeat. But seeing my son watching I’d beg to differ. In fact his excitment is exactly the reaction that fans used to have for the All Star Game.
Much has been said about the All Star Game over the years. It used to be a showcase of the best talent in the game. But as salaries rose and players attitudes changed and the process for choosing players came under fire the game devolved. Making the game count for home field advantage in the World Series didn’t help things either. (It may have made things worse.) The game is barely watchable anymore.
But the exuberance my son displayed as he watched the Derby was the same I had as a kid watching the All Star Game in the 1970s. So while the act of a home run derby may seem silly to many it appears to be accomplishing the original goal of the Game: put on an exhibition to showcase the talent and excitment that is Major League Baseball.