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July 11, 2006

Prospectus Matchups

From the desk of Vex Peters: Improving the Home Run Derby

by Jim Baker

Note: Every so often, we lay our hands on a document that was probably not intended for public consumption. We are not at liberty to say how it is we come by these things because we do not wish to compromise our conduit thereto. Suffice it to say, we will continue to make these available to you as long as we "come by" them.

To: All-Star Planning Committee
From: Vex Peters, Steering Chairman, MLB
Date: July 11, 2006
RE: Home Run Derby Reformatting

The ratings are in for last night's Home Run Derby and, while somewhat acceptable, I can't help but think they could be better. If you people would have listened to me in the past, this thing would have already been so big that movie theaters would go dark rather than bother competing against it. Other networks would run infomercials instead of wasting good programming in a futile attempt to draw audience away from the greatest spectacle in the world. Why is the Home Run Derby not as big as the Super Bowl? Because you people will not listen to myself and my many ideas to improve the contest and take it to the next level.

Fan Participation

Look, we've already got them voting on the starters in the game, why not have them take part in the actual contest? Not as hitters, of course, but as pitchers. People win money on the Derby just for being drawn at random, why not have them win money for helping the players win? Yank some guy from the stands and have him toss up meatballs to Johnny B. Slugger. The more the guy hits out, the more the fan wins.

Glow-in-the-Dark Round

The stadium lights will be turned off. The only thing fans will be able to see are the players' uniform numbers, the bat and the ball. Oh, and a line across the top of the outfield fence. And the fair/foul poles (not sure which is the right thing to call at them at the moment). And the plate. That would look "cool," to borrow a word from my ten-year-old son. Who doesn't like glow-in-the-dark stuff? Even hippies do what with their blacklight posters and the like.

Greek Olympics Style

What's the point of having all these gym rats who dedicate so much of their time and what they put into their bodies if we don't show them off? I say get the contestants down to a loin cloth, oil 'em up good and then let them take their cuts. Muscles rippling and glistening under the stadium arc lights? Can't you just picture it? I certainly can. We'd triple our intended demographic.

Emulate Successful Enterprises

E.S.E. Learn it, live it, love it. I'm guessing most of you didn't watch the recently completed World Cup. I did because I'm looking for answers, answers to questions like this: Why do so many people on the world stage like this thing, and what can we do to make our product as popular? These are my conclusions about the World Cup as they pertain to the Home Run Derby:

  • There are too many home runs. Foreigners, apparently, don't like to see success on a grand scale. If we are to appeal to the foreign market, our contestants have to fail a lot more. Troy Glaus hit just one out last night, and he came in last. If we make it more difficult, one homer should carry the day-just like one goal usually carries the day in soccer, or "futball" as my yard guy calls it.
  • Another thing: contestants don't fake enough injuries, either. Apparently, this has a strong appeal in other parts of the world. Why else would they continue to flock to games wherein players hurl themselves to the ground in seemingly exquisite pain when they have barely been touched or not touched at all by an opponent? If we Emulate the Successful Enterprise on this, Home Run Derby contestants will be awarded points for feigning getting hit by pitches that pass anywhere within a foot of their persons. Two complete rolls after hitting the ground is good. Three is better. A shocked and wounded look is always a nice touch, and should count extra.

Danger Element

The problem with the Home Run Derby is that nothing truly bad can happen. I realize that one of these years one of those goofballs shagging the "outs" in the outfield might get conked on the head to the delight of one and all, but that's just investing too much hope in a random event. What we need is some prearranged mayhem. If you people don't agree with me then you're not watching enough Japanese game shows. How about an exploding ball? It could explode on contact with the bat, or hitting the bat could engage a timing fuse and it could explode later over the stands or in the stands. We can figure that out later, the important thing is to commit to exploding baseball research right now!

In conclusion, you people should start listening to me. I think about this stuff a lot. I think about it when I'm not even being paid to think about it-that makes it more heartfelt. If you would take my advice, the Home Run Derby would be a bigger television draw than the All-Star Game itself inside of two years. Are you ready for that?

Related Content:  Derby

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