This year it’s a $1 million question. Here’s a projection of who deserves to compete for the cash
Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby will feature a $1 million prize to the winner, a trophy that ought to ramp up interest not only in winning the exhibition but also in participating in it. At the same time it intensifies and pressurizes the process of selecting the eight participants.
Given the stakes what is needed are some criteria to qualify. Let’s look at what those criteria ought to be, and then put together the perfect Home Run Derby bracket based on those criteria.
- Two spots ought to be reserved for the guys who have hit the most home runs.
- This is a gun show, so two more spots ought to be set aside for the guys who have consistently hit the longest home runs.
- The defending champion ought to get a free pass; after all, he didn’t have a shot at $1 million last year.
- Following up on the gun show theme, two additional sports ought to be set aside for the guys – not already qualified – who have delivered the most long-distance bombs, those truly awe-inspiring shots in excess of 425 feet.
- The final spot should go to an at-large candidate capable of stirring fan passions. It might be an especially splashy rookie, a player having a career season, or an emerging star. Bonus points if the candidate plays for a team not normally on people’s radar screens; the easier for masses to rally around him. Finally, a competitor from the home city would stoke interest.
Those are the criteria: Let’s see how our ideal field would shape up. For the record, all data cited hereafter is as of June 18.