Josh Hamilton did not win the Home Run Derby. Justin Morneau did.
No one seems to care.
Morneau should be given his props for working the system, and earning himself a shiny new trophy, but Hamilton should be praised for putting on the best show I can remember.
I've never seen one player, already walking into the event with a boatload of baggage, come into a foreign park and win over a crowd quite like that. His story helped. His 71 year old pitcher helped. But it was purely the talent of Hamilton that shone through last night at the hallowed Yankee Stadium.
Hamilton was the last man to bat in the first round, and blasted 28 home runs in the first round alone. All his home runs combined traveled a distance of 12,458. The average home run for Hamilton was hit 445 feet. He went on to hit four home runs in his abbreviated second round, as he was a shoe-in for the finals.
He only was able to hit three home runs in the final round, losing out to Morneau who paced himself and was able to crank five to take home the prize.
A performance like that of Hamilton, and him walking home in second place, is the reason the Derby needs to be fixed.
The current system works as follows: In the first round, the players are given 10 outs to try and hit their home runs. Their totals from the first round carry over if you're one of the top four players to advance. The player is then given another 10 outs and their totals are combined from round one and round two. The top two players move on to the finals, where the slate is wiped clean and they start anew. Whoever wins the final round, wins the event.
It seems to be a flawed system, because if you've ever watched the HR Derby past the first round, you can see how tired and exhausting it is for the players.
Here's what I propose: In Round 1, players are allotted 10 outs, just like before. It's early, so they can take more swings. In round two, the slate is wiped clean, and the players only have five outs to try and move on. The top two advance, and are given another five outs to work with, on a new tally.
Each round in important and the later rounds are shorter. This would create more a competitive environment, as they would have to perform in each round, but it would also keep the players fresh, cutting their late round hacks in half, based on outs alone.
Do you have a better plan? Let's hear it...