Given my view of it all, you won't be surprised to hear that I ended up only watching a fraction of the Home Run Derby last night, but I'll offer the following observations:
-- It took something like 20 minutes for the actual hitting to start following the commencement of the broadcast. One would think that if you're hyping a Home Run Derby as much as ESPN was, you'd want to get to some actual hitting eventually.
-- Nelson Cruz was pretty impressive. Wasn't expecting that. Probably because I never get to see any Rangers games. I think I'll blame ESPN for that too.
-- I get tired watching Prince Fielder simply walk around, so watching him hack violently like he did last night was an exhausting experience.
-- Call me crazy, but I don't know that I'd want my son to be one of the kids who wipe down the sweaty ballplayers after they're done hitting. Very weird vibe.
-- Berman might read CTB -- or Deadspin -- because in at least the parts I saw of it, he seemed to have ratcheted, um, back on the "back back backs" a good 50%
-- Greg Doyel of CBS Sports made a veiled accusation of steroid use by Brandon Inge yesterday. Wonder if he's gonna take it back now that Inge didn't hit a single dinger.
-- The little comet trail thing they're putting on the ball makes me burn with an anger that is hotter than a thousand suns. Beyond stupid. Who can't follow the flight of a baseball? Who doesn't have the patience to see if the ball makes the stands? Half the time it doesn't even track the ball very well. Note to ESPN: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
-- Adrian Gonzalez came to bat and Joe Buck made his way to the broadcast desk. To review the bidding at that point, we had Berman, Steve Phillips, Joe Buck, a contrived contest I can't really get into, and some lame, 1980s video game graphics on the ball. That's when I bailed. Congrats to Prince Fielder and everything, but my Ross MacDonald book was way, way more entertaining.
Look, I'll fully admit that everyone looks like they're having fun at this thing. Especially all of the kids shagging flies in the outfield. But it simply doesn't work as televised entertainment. Perhaps if they sped it up a bit, jacked the intensity somehow and made it into a shorter and more direct contest the results would be better. Of course that can't happen because guys would get too tired and people wouldn't sit in the stands buying $8 beers for three hours.
All-Star Game tonight. You won't be surprised to learn that I have a million complaints about it too, but at least it's baseball.