I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but I’m going to: that Home Run Derby was so very enjoyable, and the new timed format was a clear winner. It didn’t hurt that you had the hometown guy (Todd Frazier) reaching the final against the guy ripping monster bombs (Joc Pederson), but there was drama in every single round. Yes, some things could be fixed – penalizing guys for pop-ups but not ground balls seems silly, and the camera angles were terrible – but, all in all, it was a blast.
And although Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant bowed out in the first round, I enjoyed their performances, as well. Rizzo probably suffered a bit for having to go first out of everyone in a brand new format, and got to play the part of guinea pig. He still did well. Bryant got to hit off of his dad, which may not have been his normal BP routine, but was pretty awesome.
Here’s a look at Rizzo’s eight homers in the first round. It took him a little while to get going, but it wound up not being too bad of a round:
He didn’t really have any cheapies, so at least there was that.
And here’s Bryant’s first round:
Bryant also didn’t get cheated, which, like Rizzo, led to some really high, long homers. In this format, you were actually rewarded for getting your homers out of the park more quickly – Frazier’s line drives helped him in that respect – because the next pitch couldn’t come until your ball was down.
But whatever. I’m not actually getting into the weeds on the format or the performances. It was just a lot of fun, and that’s all I’m ever looking for in a Home Run Derby.