With the MLB All-Star break upon us, I figured it’d be a good time to share some ideas that I had to make the All-Star break a bit more fun. The All-star game itself is perfect. Arguably being the best all-star game across the major sports, with no one really phoning it in or not giving it their all. Everyone goes out and plays the game. However, comparing the MLB All-Star break to the NBA’s, the MLB lacks the fun and exciting mini games that the NBA has. Dunk contest, skills challenge, three-point contest, all these activities make the event more fun and entertaining for all (okay, let’s exclude last year’s). The MLB does have the Home Run Derby, but that is only one event and fails to include players whose game is not based around power. So I thought I’d think up some other events that could help include all players and bring more excitement to the event.
Bunting Challenge: Okay this one may sound boring, but stick with me here. It would be a great way to reward and test players on their skills in situations like this. Down each line, you have different zones worth different points. Intervals of 1, 3, and 5, should work. If they bunt it foul, or miss the zones, they get an out. Just like in a real game, three outs and your turn is over. Although bunting may not be the most exciting aspect of the game, I think this event could still be an exciting one. And since many pitchers are used in sacrifice situations, they would be able to participate in this event.
Beat The Shift: The debate over whether the flurry of defensive shifts over the years has helped or hurt baseball is still very prevalent. In light of this debate, a good potential activity is Beat The Shift. The goal of the game is to hit it where they’re not. A defensive shift like the one below would be put on and the goal of the hitter is to hit it (for a base hit) through the hole in the defense. Home runs will not count as anything. There will be actual fielders to make the plays, so there will be a competent team out there on the field trying to stop the hitter. You could potentially have a defensive point system in place as an incentive for the fielders to try their best. Perhaps even have the other hitters pick out their own team of fielders and for every stop they get in the outfield, their team gets a point. This would keep the hitters for just swinging for the warning track. Depending on how it all goes, I figure giving the hitter 7-10 outs is fair.
Robbery: A contest to see who can rob the most home runs would be an exciting spectacle to watch. Each player gets as many tries as possible, but if they miss, they receive a strike. Five strikes and you’re done. This would keep it fast-paced, but still give them room for error. Robbing home runs is one of the most exciting plays in all of baseball. Everyone loves to see a player scale the wall and haul it in. Players who thrive in the defensive aspect of the game could finally have a place during the break where they could show off their skills. Defense is an important aspect of the game and continues to get lost and forgotten about in an age of baseball that demands the long ball.
Retired All-Star Game: This one is fairly self-explanatory. Basically, you take former all-stars, preferably ones that retired recently and can still play, and hold an all-star game for them. There is an old-timer’s game held every year, but you could potentially hold another one during the All-Star break. Also this one would be treated like an actual game. No softball, no lobbing, just real, competitive baseball. This is why it would be preferable to get recently retired players, that way, they’d still be able to move and throw. Risk of injury would only increase as the age grows. Fans would love to watch their old favorites get back out there and play. It would provide a great nostalgic vibe to the break.
Literally any of your favorite recent retirees
Pitchers Home Run Derby: Last, but certainly not least, my favorite idea. In recent years, pitchers have spoken up about wanting to compete in the Home Run Derby, so why not give them what they want? Fans and players would get an absolute kick out of watching the pitchers swing for the fences. Also it wouldn’t mess up their swing, which is a concern during the actual Home Run Derby, because these pitcher’s swing is already messed up. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Trevor Bauer (Those Batting Stances??)