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There is a certain reverence that people who grew up watching the All-Star Games of yore hold, and somewhere between interleague play and the "This Time It Counts" campaign, it's begun to drift away. But instead of trying to fix the game, which is still both very popular and important to growing the brand of baseball both at home and abroad, itself, a different approach may be to surround the game with a more entertaining product. After all, how often do you get such a large representation of the game's collective star power together in one spot?

As it stands now, All-Star Weekend has essentially morphed into a representation of Justin Smoak's career (minus the recent resurgence, if you choose to even call it that). Everything is great on the minor-league side, as the Futures Game is one of the best additions that baseball has made in the last half-century. However, on the major-league side, it's more about lost opportunity. The Home Run Derby, while it is still fun in moderation, has almost become a caricature of itself and lasts nearly an hour too long. Beyond that, there’s not a single event that uses the crop of current All-Stars.

So I propose creating and televising more events for both the day before and after the actual game. And to start, I want to introduce my idea of a Baseball Decathlon. The concept is simple: two superstar players will compete in 10 different events meant to cover the major skills that a baseball player needs to have. What are these 10 events, you ask? Let’s jump right in.

Home Run Derby

The Set-Up: I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t just another current version of the Derby. Instead, the decathlon has a derby that harkens back to the old TV series from 1960. That means it’ll be quick and to the point—and just to make it more watchable, we won’t let Chris Berman in the building. For those of you unfamiliar with the short-lived TV series, the rules are relatively simple. The derby is scored like a standard game with three outs per inning and all strikes are outs (including pitches taken in the strike zone). However, instead of a nine-inning “game”, we’ll shorten it to five in order to make room for the rest of the events.

The results: Since they made their 2012 debuts on the same day, Trout has both hit 10 more homers than Harper (45 to 35) and posted a longer average distance on those homers (412.4 feet to 410.6 feet). But just to make this a little more interesting, we had them face a pitcher off of whom they have both hit 400-plus-foot homers. There are surprisingly three pitchers who qualify for this, but Anthony Bass is still not all the way back from injury and Anibal Sanchez has been too good this year to subject him to this. So, sorry Jacob Turner!

Winner: Mike Trout

Target Practice

The Set-Up: Each player will step up to the plate against a batting practice pitcher, similar to the Derby before it—but this time, they need to hit specific targets on the field. At each infield position, there will be a large screen similar to what the batting practice pitcher uses, but it will be 10 feet tall by 10 feet wide with a hockey-style goal light above it for when the players hit the target. In the outfield, there will be three large trucks, measuring 30 feet wide and 10 feet tall. Additionally, there will be various smaller targets in the gaps and down the lines, along with a bunting circle down each base line, which can be attempted once per round.

Both participants will receive two rounds of 10 outs to score as many points as possible, with two called strikes in a row counting as an out. The scoring system would be as follows:

  • Infield target: 50 points
  • Outfield truck: 75 points
  • Small outfield target: 125 points
  • Bunt circle: 150 points

The results: In order to determine the winner here, I decided to do a poll with members of the Baseball Prospectus staff to see who might win this competition. In the end, Trout won out by a six-to-two margin.

Winner: Mike Trout

Ump Show

The Set-Up: Each player stands in the batter’s box to face 20 pitches against live pitching—and not just a batting practice arm, a real major-league pitcher. The twist here is that the players are not swinging the bat; they will have to correctly guess whether each pitch thrown to them is a ball or a strike in an attempt to measure their eye at the plate. Just because we have the technology, each time the player guesses a pitch wrong, the big red X-in-a-box from Family Feud will show up on every stadium screen.

The results: The most translatable statistic here (swing percentage on pitches outside the zone) favors Trout, as his 25.7 percent rate is significantly better than Harper’s 33.3 percent. Additionally, there’s about a one-in-five chance that Harper gets bored by the end of this exercise, crushes a home run off one of pitches and yells “STRIKE” as he flips his bat 10 feet up in the air. This would result in a disqualification.

Winner: Mike Trout

Fastest Throw

The Set-Up: Both participants would stand behind a line drawn in shallow center field, 90 feet behind second base. From there, they would get three chances to throw the ball as hard as they could, with the speed of their throws measured by radar gun. However, any throw that does not hit a large wrap-around target behind the plate will not count toward their totals.

The results: There’s really no competition here. Harper has the arm dreams are made of, and instead of even competing in this one, Trout sits it out and eats a protein bar in order to get ready for the next event.

Winner: Bryce Harper

Flashing the Leather

The Set-Up: Players stand at the shortstop position and field 10 balls that are shot toward them at random from pre-positioned pitching machines. To make it a little more of a challenge, there will be base runners ready to dart from the batter’s box to first base once each machine is fired off. Each time the participant successfully throws out the base runner, he gets a point.

The results: The second of the two competitions left to a BP staff poll, Trout takes this one five-to-three with Ken Funck pointing out that Mike Trout did actually play shortstop early on in his high school career. That’s good enough for me.

Winner: Mike Trout

Most Accurate Arm

The Set-Up: Because this decathlon isn’t meant to be position-specific, players will need to make throws from all over the diamond. Similar to the three-point contest in basketball, players move from position to position on the field scoring points for throws that hit the set targets. Each player will start by throwing a ball from the catcher’s position to a target at second base. From there they will move clockwise from third base to second base, each throwing three balls to a first-base target before moving onto the outfield

The results: Another arm-related event and another victory for the former catcher. For their careers, Harper has trounced Trout in outfield assists and that’s even with the reputation that precedes Harper of being a guy you don’t want to run on. Harper has recorded 13 assists in just 194 games, while it’s taken Mike Trout 266 games to accumulate just three.

Winner: Bryce Harper

Around the Bases

The Set-Up: Probably the most straightforward of the events, each player will be timed running around the bases after taking a full swing in the batter’s box. Yep, that’s it.

The results: Harper gets extra points for consistently making his helmet fly off between first and second base, but even that advantage can’t help him match Trout’s raw speed.

Winner: Mike Trout

Wall Jump

The Set-Up: There are few things more exciting on the defensive spectrum than an over-the-wall, home-run-saving catch. In this event, each player will get a running start from 50 feet in front of the center-field wall and will jump as high as they can against it. They will each get three opportunities and the height of the jumps will be measured by a touch screen, which has to be touched by their glove.

The results: It turns out that both Harper and Trout have different philosophies when it comes to walls.

Winner: Mike Trout

Freestyle Slide Contest

The Set-Up: With this even,t we start to move into a demonstration of showmanship. Like the slam-dunk competition in basketball, there will be live judges grading each player as they maneuver around a stationary target blocking home plate. Scores will range from one (worst) to 10 (best), and will be graded on both ability to beat a potential tag and general flashiness.

The results: Mike Trout goes first and is clearly impressive, but Harper steals the show. He races full speed toward the plate only to stop completely on a dime by running his fingers through his hair and using the gel on his hands as a veritable anti-lock brake system before sidestepping (still on his hands) to the plate.

However, until we can actually create the event, the showmanship of each player is to be judged on the bat flip they used during the longest home runs of their careers. So, here they are side-by-side:

The camera doesn’t linger on Harper long enough to see him give a nice and understated flip into the air, but it does linger on Trout long enough to see his bat head straight for the ground. It’s an unfortunate display of sportsmanship that costs him the point.

Winner: Bryce Harper

Media Circus

The Set-Up: In the final competition of the day, the two players are put in a locker-room-type setting and asked random ridiculous questions by a panel of judges. In Round One, the goal is to diffuse a very leading question without saying anything that will make headlines. In Round Two, they answer a different set of questions with the specific purpose of making headlines in a team-friendly manner. The judges are different for this event than the slide contest, with the panel here consisting of Rickey Henderson, Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Nick Swisher, and Prince. And that’s the artist formerly known as, not Fielder.

The results: With his first answer, Bryce Harper simply looks back at Nick Swisher (who asked the question) and says, “That’s a clown question, bro.” He then smiles, drops the mic, and walks off. After Harper receives a 50-point score from the judges, Trout just stares in disbelief and remains so flustered that he can’t even make out full sentences for his answers.

Winner: Bryce Harper

For those of you keeping track at home, that makes Trout the winner by a score of six-to-four, after the final decathlon event. Congratulations, fake Mike Trout, for winning a fake event drawn up by a person with way too much time on his hands. I guess that just means we’ll have to settle this for real one day. Let’s get on it, MLB.

Thank you for reading

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This is why marketing schools should be carpet bombed.
I take it the winner of this bracket faces Manny Machado in the Finals?
How about a Puig vs Machado undercard?
This should decide home field for the World Series.
I love this. I'm just a little sad that there's no bunting.

Besides, we all know the winner would face Yasiel Puig in the finals.
Thanks! The specter of the unexpected bunt attempt in Target Practice may have more natural anticipation than anything else in this event.
Seriously though, a baseball decathalon (or even heptathalon), with one representative sent from each team, would be an amazing all-star week event. So much better than what we have now.

Alternatively, they could all compete in the Modern Pentathalon. Now that would be a sight to see.
Interesting idea. They could do it Hunger Games style, but instead of the end prize being food* it could be extra money for their organiation's draft budget or something.

*I never saw/read the Hunger Games, so if you don't actually win food in the competition, please ignore my ignorance.
Why don't we start the Selig pinata at the all star game. When the pinata breaks a bunch of nonsense new rules will spill out. Maybe at that point, we can have a fan vote for the final playoff spot.
The NHL's Skills Competition is one of the most popular parts of All-Star Weekend, not just with the fans, but also the players. The NFL has toyed with skills competitions, but they have been less successful, I believe mostly due to the wide variation in skills used by different positions.

Normally I prefer to see the different sports try to maximize what makes them unique instead of copying the other leagues, but in this case, if done right, a baseball skills competition could work. A good range of events (I'd only really nix Media Circus from this list as unworthy -- though fun) like these would be fun to watch, and probably to participate in for the players.
Just run the guys through the Tom Emanski drills video and call it done. Winner gets Fred McGriff in the final.
And if they beat McGriff, they get to keep that sweet, sweet, baby blue hat.