When the two teams for the National League and American League take to the batter’s box for the 2014 Home Run Derby as part of next month’s All-Star Game festivities, they will do so under a new set of rules.
The event has become arduous in recent years, with all of the ’10 out’ rounds stacking up and making the event feel interminable while sapping much of its excitement. In an effort to address those issues and add intrigue to the event, Major League Baseball announced a new format for the derby on Monday. According to MLB.com:
Five players from each league will bat in the opening round, with seven outs instead of the previous 10. The player who hits the most homers in each league will automatically receive a bye to the third round (semifinals). The next two players from each league with the most homers will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round.
The winners of these matchups will advance to the third round to compete against the league’s top seed. The final round will feature the winners of the American and National League semifinals going head-to-head to determine the winner of the event…
This certainly stands to improve the event as compared to the painful iterations in recent seasons. How about a head-to-head match-up between Giancarlo Stanton and Edwin Encarnacion? That’s certainly more likely to draw more fans in than the same old dull format of the past. This might not be perfect, and people will surely find different issues with it, but even the decrease to seven outs a round should make this worthwhile.