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"Insane" Home Run Derby

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http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pattisonave/Reading-Phillies-hosting-the-most-insane-Home-Run-Derby-ever.html

We're only 24 hours away from one of the most insane events to ever take place on a baseball diamond: the Baseballtown All-Star Home Run Derby in Reading.

For those not in the know, the Reading Phillies are hosting the Eastern League All-Star Game this year. But instead of having the traditional, "back-back-back-back-back!"-style Home Run Derby, the team has gone absolutely insane decided to do something a little more interesting:

The team will actually be hosting a catered party on the field during the derby by way of a 12-foot net strung from first to third base. Fans will be eating, drinking, and generally partying as baseballs go flying over their heads (and occasionally directly at the net directly in front of them).

That's already pretty nuts, but the R-Phils have upped the ante by providing all kinds of targets for the competitors to hit. But they're not just big, cardboard targets. No. They're going to be things like a dunk-tank. And a guy on a trampoline with a baseball glove. Oh, and the best part? The R-Phils are going to hang an intern from a crane. If the intern can catch a batted ball, it'll be worth tons of points to the hitter.

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Nah, what the R-Phils are doing is fine for the minor leagues, but the Home Run Derby is the only part of the All-Star festivities that I can take seriously... MLB can keep it how it is.

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The thing is though people can barely watch the Home Run Derby after the first round. They need to spruce it up a little. Forget the dining on the field, I'm talking about the targets and such.

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I want to see video of this home run derby. That alone tells me that it is one hell of a successful publicity stunt. To me, an all-star game should be a fun, festival-like event. The home run derby is alright as-is (if the spectator has a vested interest in it, like a favourite player competing), but dunk tank targets and guys hanging from cranes trying to catch balls? That's just a spectacle. Anyone in the stadium isn't going to want to miss a single pitch.

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The Midwest League did something like this in the Quad Cities last year. There was a dunk tank, targets and a bunch of open toilet seats. Various other odd things, too. Mascots... guys in the sumo wrestler suits... and a rusty old van, yes, down by the river, if you know Modern Woodmen Park. All sponsored, with someone in the crowd winning whatever the related items were. Giant inflatable beer bottles that if hit triggered a beer special, too. Stuff like that. Nobody dining in the field though.

Random, but I found it entertaining. Been to 3 ASGs in my hometown and one in Chicago but I don't remember anything like that before.

MLB needs something to spice it up. Maybe not that...

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MLB needs to make one of the three rounds shorter. One of the first two rounds should be 5 outs only.

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Dining on the field seems kind of hokie, and the intern from a crane sounds potentially dangerous?

At the MLB ASG, anything that gets the fans involved in some way would be cool. I like the idea of targets that, if hit, trigger some sort of giveaway or prize to a random fan, section, etc. The dunk dank would be fun. Put Bud Selig in it, have a giant target in left field, and if anyone hits it he goes in. Knock over one of those fuzzy clown things and you win a stuffed animal. Land a ball on top of a giant bottle and everyone takes home a goldfish in a bag...

The Gold Ball for charity is the best part of the derby. I lost track, but I think it was over $400,000 going to the Boys and Girls Club before the night was over, just from the gold balls. $3000 for every other home run hit.

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Everything mentioned embodies the greatness of minor league baseball. I do, however, think "dining on the field" is kind of silly. It takes away the "fun baseball aspect" of the HRD.

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Link to recap of the Reading Home Run Derby

From reading the article, it sounds like it was just as entertaining as expected. They even had a couple pitchers and the hot dog guy compete, just for kicks.

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Tho I don't see MLB ever doing anything as whimsical as a dunk tank or crane, I do think they should add some graded scoring measures to liven things up. Maybe distance bonuses, or "called" or targeted shots bonuses. And they should definitely cut down on the length of some of the at bats; 5 outs should be plenty for the prelim rounds.

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