MLB Home Run Contest Could Use an Upgrade for Better Fan Interest
Major League Baseball will put on its annual Home Run Derby tonight on ESPN, an event that curiously seems to have lost some of its luster over the years (AHPS). Similar to the NBA slam dunk contest, the MLB home run derby does not have the pizazz it once had, and may be losing its appeal — especially to younger fans who already split their time between video games, texting, and playing on the computer. So, where did it all go wrong?
As a lifelong baseball fan, I still enjoy the HR derby, but I have to admit there are things I would address in order to spice it up some. For example….
- Shorten it. I don’t know about you, but the HR Derby (similar to the slam dunk contest) seems to go on and on and on….is there way way to abbreviate it some?
- Change the rules to add more drama. I don’t know, maybe give extra points for the longest bomb, or more points for hitters who knock out 5 in a row, etc.
- Change the announcer. Chris Berman used to be one of the top guys at ESPN, but today he comes across as very dated to most young fans (many of whom simply don’t get his humor). “Back, back, back” gets old after about the 100th time, so maybe add some new personalities to the broadcast booth?
Similar to the NBA slam dunk contest, the HR derby seems to go on all night, and the thrill of the competition gets lost in both the duration of the event as well as the boredom of seeing the same thing (in the case of the derby basic HR’s, while the dunk contest often includes the same dunks year in and year out). Hopefully tonight’s contest will be worthwhile, but if it flops perhaps some of my ideas here will be considered.
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Dr. Chris Stankovich is a Professional Athletic Counselor and Sport Performance Scientist and studies the psychosocial variables impacting human performance and success. He is the author of 5 books and has had his work featured in numerous national media outlets, including USA Today and ABC World News. Dr. Stankovich is known as "The Sports Doc" for his regular television feature on Ohio News Network and NBC 4 Columbus (OH). For more information on peak performance products, speaking engagements, training seminars, and free education downloads, please visit http://www.drstankovich.com.