The Leadoff: Cheaters prospered


Is it just me? Or does it feel like the World Cup Final that was on Sunday happened a decade ago? Maybe it was because I spent last week laid up in sunny San Diego sippin’ Sazerac and now have jumped straight back into the craziness that is fair week, but regardless summer is flying by, I mean, there are only 49 more days until NFL begins.

The MLB All-Star game was this past week and I don’t know about you guys but I am a fan of having basically two home run derbys. In this year’s All-Star game, five different players hit a home run on each team. That’s the first time that has happened, as in ever in any game.  

The MLB was founded in 1869 (according to Google) which kind of blew my mind when I looked it up. That means we have had baseball in this country longer than we have had cars or phones or television or bendy straws and never in all that time has two teams hit five home runs apiece from five different players. It is kind of cool, but also really sad because the MLB is so incredibly specialized now. We use more pitchers than ever and the hitters have adjusted, there is very little value in a base hit anymore because the pitchers are so precise that you probably won't ever get home to score.

The solution? Absolutely ridiculous, borderline pornographic hacks every time they come up to bat because they may strike out three times, but if they connect on one of them it’s going to blast into orbit and count for at least one point. Speaking of putting things into orbit, the actual Home Run Derby was on Monday night and it could have been so beautiful if only Bryce Harper’s dad (who is ridiculously jacked) didn’t cheat.

If you watched the Home Run Derby then you know what I am talking about and if you didn’t I will explain. In 2015 the MLB implemented a clock into the Home Run Derby and it is the smartest thing they ever did (conversely the dumbest thing they ever did was that whole winner of the All-Star game gets home-field advantage in the World Series) (that was so dumb it still makes me mad to this day) and it makes you wonder how it took them so long to get there.

In the previous format, they would give each batter a handful of “outs,” which was anything that wasn’t a home run, and the batters would dig in the box and literally wait for their pitch because with a finite number of outs you have to make every swing count. It was fun in the 90’s because each guy that came up to bat had forearms the size of a Redwood tree and a syringe of steroids trailing just behind them, but once baseball got rid of steroids and pitchers began dominating the derby really lost its thunder.

In the new format, each player is given four minutes to hit as many dingers as they can with one: 30-second timeout they can take whenever they want. It is four minutes of madness and it is perfect, or would have been if someone could follow the rules. There aren’t many rules in a Home Run Derby, come to think of it I think there is literally only one, and Bryce Harper and his dad couldn’t follow it. The rule is that you must wait for each ball to hit the ground before you can pitch the next ball. Well, in the final round, Harper found himself trailing by nine home runs with a 50 seconds to go to the lord of keg softball, Kyle Schwarber.  He hit nine home runs in the first three minutes and then somehow miraculously hits 10 home runs in 50 seconds, except it isn't that miraculous because his dad started shooting out pitches like he was the BP machine at Boomers.

During his round, Schwarber could be seen waiting for balls to land before taking his next swing. Effective immediately, I demand the MLB, well maybe not the MLB because they seem to be in on it, but I demand someone look into this collusion that robbed me of the joy of having a Cub win the Home Run Derby.

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