Home Run Derby: A revamped TV show version

During the 1960 offseason, MLB held its first-ever home run derby TV show. With the league currently on hiatus, what better time than now to revamp the classic series.

Back in 1960, hungry MLB fans were greeted with an offseason present by the baseball gods: a home run derby television show. The series aired for 6-months between January and July of 1960 and featured a representative for every team in the league but one, the Chicago White Sox.

Unlike the modern-day derby, the TV show version worked mostly like an actual game. A representative from two opposing teams played 9-innings at 3-outs per batter per inning.

A batter caught looking at a pitch in the strike zone constituted an out as did any ball not hit for a home run. Also, While one batter hit, the other sat in the booth with the announcers talking baseball.

It’s literally everything the modern fan could ever ask for…

  • expedited games,
  • lots of home runs, and
  • mic’d up players

…which is why this fan’s plea for MLB to bring the show back is an absolute genius idea.

Today, however, I want to offer up a revamped version of the show. A tournament style bracket system in which every single team can compete to win the Home Run Derby title.

Now, given the uncertainty brought upon by the novel coronavirus, no one is really sure when we’ll have baseball again. Conservative estimates have the league kicking back into gear as soon as May, so let’s work off of that assumption.

Also, let’s abide by the President of the United States’ own recommendations and allow for each game to accommodate no more than 10 people.

  1. Two Batters; one from each team
  2. One Umpire
  3. One Catcher
  4. Two Broadcasters
  5. Up to four ball collectors

Finally, abide by the aforementioned rules of the original show (above).

So, how can this tournament work?

First, you play a qualifier round. All 30 teams participate in this round. Matchups are selected at random.

For this round, allow for two-weeks; two games per day, except for the first and last day when three games are played each day. Teams would be competing for a spot on the 12-team bracket. Rankings will be based on home run totals (i.e. most home runs ranks 1, 2nd most 2, 3rd most 3, etc.).

From there, you play a 4-round tournament with the top 14 teams; the number 1 and 2 ranked teams get a bye in round one. Each round of the tournament can be completed in a week’s time for a total of 6-weeks in total.

Here’s a visual representation of what a tournament bracket could look like.

If the tournament were to start April 1, we could be looking at a mid-may end time.

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In times like these, MLB fans would kill for any baseball. Imagine a 6-week home run derby TV show? I know I’d watch.

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