Without Bautista, Home Run Derby falls short

They may not have gone about it the right way, but ultimately Major League Baseball got what they wanted out of the Home Run Derby: a fan favourite like David Ortiz winning the contest.

I won’t try and dissect the Derby too much, but there were certain things that crept up during the night that must be addressed.

Aside from Chris Berman and Joe Morgan’s incessant dribble, the broadcast is as always, about 90 minutes too long. And at times, it felt like an infomercial for State Farm and Gatorade with the amount of product placement and sponsor mentions.


I still find it shocking that viewers prefer to watch the Home Run Derby instead of the MLB All-Star Game itself. Now I can see that the casual baseball fan or stopper by would prefer to watch a dinger parade, but man … does it ever get old fast.

It seems like I go through the same thing ever year: I promise that I’m not going to subject myself to the Home Run Derby, but then I always cave in fear that I might miss that great Home Run Derby moment. Fortunately, there wasn’t really earth-shattering that happened this year.

Vernon Wells didn’t exactly tear the cover off the ball, but he wasn’t the worst participant either. Maybe part of that had to do with his anxiousness at the plate, as he didn’t take too many pitches and didn’t really take his time setting up for his home runs. And by the way, wasn’t John Buck supposed to pitch to Wells?

Just a few more thoughts on the Home Run Derby in relation to Jose Bautista before I finally close the book on this issue.

Kudos to Fox for almost completely managing to ignore Bautista altogether. I don’t know if that was at the direction of MLB executives, but it really did seem like the major league leader in home runs was being completely overlooked during the broadcast.

Aside from a Freudian Slip by Bobby Valentine calling David Ortiz “Jose Ortiz” and Joe Morgan briefly mentioning Bautista as merely an obstacle standing in the way of Miguel Cabrera winning the American League triple crown, Jose Bautista was nowhere to be seen or heard.

Although they didn’t outright say it, you could sense from the Home Run Derby broadcast team that there were better options out there for participants.

When Chris Berman even introduced Nick Swisher as “leading the league in fun”, you know the competition is losing its luster when even the broadcasters are grasping at straws to justify why Swisher was there in the first place.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

7 thoughts on “Without Bautista, Home Run Derby falls short

  • July 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    There was a brief shot of Bautista wearing a weird had and chatting with other All-Stars.

    John Buck however was nowhere to be seen.

  • July 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    April, I agree that the HR Derby really does drag on. If they cut it down to 90 minutes or even a 2 hour broadcast and streamlined it, I think it would be much better.

    And no, there was never a reason given as to why MLB didn't ask Bautista to the Home Run Derby. I assumed it was because he declined to go, but he was never actually asked!

    I can't wait to see him gun down a runner at the plate tonight in the All-Star Game or hit a Bautista Bomb over the fence.

    MC1, of course I watched most of the broadcast hoping for a glimpse of Jose, but flipped the channel and missed it. Maybe Buck had an emergency or something, because I thought Wells said that Buck was going to pitch to him. Weird.

  • July 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Didn't watch it, didn't miss anything…

  • July 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Exactly! I should've done the same thing Mattt. You may as well just watch the highlights.

  • July 14, 2010 at 12:37 am

    I was going to make a long comment on how the Derby is not a competition, but one long commercial.

    However, Nick Swisher's participation kind of makes that point for me.

  • July 14, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Ugh, the derby. Like the slam dunk contest, it's a cool little contest that has gotten bloated and silly. Just have the top-four home run hitters in each league hit for two rounds and be done with it!

  • July 14, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Robbie, it certainly seems like one giant infomercial doesn't it? I understand they need to sell ad time, but it could actually be about 1-2 hours shorter.

    Steve, great idea. No muss, no fuss. Four guys go at it, no rounds, most HR's wins. I like it!

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