Mookie Betts is sick of the Home Run Derby.
“Do something else, or take it out. Don’t even do it,” the Boston Red Sox right fielder recently said, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, when asked about Major League Baseball’s annual midsummer homer-hitting contest.
“Anything you do too much, people are going to get tired of it,” he reportedly added.
Betts already has made it clear he has no plans to compete in this year’s Home Run Derby, and he’s not alone. Betts’ teammate, J.D. Martinez, and New York Yankees boppers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge — the last two Derby winners — also have said they have no interest in participating.
A lack of star power could be problematic for MLB as it relates to the event. That doesn’t mean the league can’t explore alternatives, though, and Betts offered an idea for what MLB can do to spruce up All-Star Week: a skills competition.
“I kind of think that’s the route you’re going to have to go,” Betts told Bradford.
“Something like a throwing-from-the-outfield contest. Some type of throwing contest,” he added. “Trying to throw into a barrel or infielders have to take a ground ball to your left, ground ball to your right, slow roller and they have to throw into a screen with a box. That might be something.”
A skills challenge certainly would be interesting, as it would allow players without Herculean power to show the world why they, too, are worth watching. But getting rid of the Derby entirely? That’d be a bold move given that MLB has been committed to the event for more than 30 years.
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