DATELINE: Inside the Park Homer
The baseball All-Star Game has evolved to the point that no one truly cares about its flashy lack of substance in the manufactured pre-game stunts.
Take your Home Run Derby. Take it, please.
Most of the bona fide real home run hitters have opted not to participate. They claim, rightfully, that to change their routine swing will throw off timing and ruin their batting ability.
We could hear the ghosts of Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, and Willie Mays, and Dick Stuart, laughing.
MLB is so off in their timing they made a text request to Red Sox young star Mookie Betts to join the event this month. He flatly turned them down, in the mode of Ty Cobb.
We were a bit surprised to hear that Mookie was one of the last people to even receive an “invitation” to the party. It’s always nice to be asked, even if you don’t go, but he was voted a starting outfielder for the American League and does not lead the league in homers.
It’s kind of insulting to be an afterthought. And, he said no thanks. It was in the great Nancy Reagan tradition. He joined fellow teammates David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, the real homer sluggers, who also said no.
Sixty years ago baseball had an offseason TV show called Home Run Derhy—and every great leader in home runs took part for the cash (a paltry sum by today’s standards). No one ever thought hitting a tossed cream puff out of the park would ruin their careers, their timing, and tarnish their baseball reputation.
We are in a new era of sports. And baseball is still 60 years behind the times. No, we no longer watch home run derbies. It’s all so ho-hum.