Last week, Bruce Bochy did an interview on MLB Network Radio and said he’s all for Madison Bumgarner participating in the Home Run Derby. He thinks it would draw interest and that’s always good for the game. Here’s the salient clip from that interview:
#SFGiants Madison Bumgarner had his best start of the year on Thursday night, but would manager Bruce Bochy be opposed to him participating in the home run derby?— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) June 22, 2018
Bochy on @MLBNetworkRadio w/ @DanGraca & @spillygoat19 pic.twitter.com/19JTF8JpgG
Back in 2016, the Bumgarner for Home Run Derby chatter hit its peak, but the idea was quashed by the Players’ Association who didn’t think it would be fair to take a slot away from a position player.
Bruce Bochy floated the possibility of the MLBPA reconsidering in the pursuing years to go along with other considerations concerning the All-Star Game, and here’s where I come to my point: Commissioner Manfred should take all the kooky rule changes out there and implement them in the All-Star game just to see what sticks.
The All-Star Game is an exhibition. It also contains the only officially timed event at the Major League level in the Home Run Derby. The Home Run Derby clock has been a huge success because once people saw it in action, they experienced how it improved the event.
Banning defense shifts, limiting pitching changes, creating roster weirdness, dual DH’ing are all ideas that could be implemented in the All-Star Game, which once ended in a tie in defiance of Baseball itself. Use the game as a proving ground.
Remember when the All-Star Game used to decide home field advantage for the World Series? That’s gone. In its place is an exhibition that’s been robbed of its uniqueness thanks to constant interleague play. Why not add back in a little more flavor by seeing the stars of today softly compete against each other with a slightly different setup than they ordinarily would during the regular season?
Put Bumgarner in the Home Run Derby. Hold a round for pitchers or just “free agents”, any current or former players who wouldn’t ordinarily be invited to the “official” derby can apply. They get 2 minutes each and the winner of that wins a Chevy Volt or something.
Put the foul ball limit in the All-Star game. I don’t care. Get weird with it. Make it interesting again. Baseball innovation doesn’t have to be painful.