Friday, July 11, 2014

Improving the MLB All-Star Game Festivities (re-post)

Note:  This is a re-posted article from February.  Yep, I wrote about the All-Star Game in February for some reason.  Anyway, if you missed this or just want to re-live it, here are some ideas I had for making the All-Star Game festivities more entertaining.  

The MLB All-Star Game will be at Target Field this coming week.  The game itself is always entertaining, but the events that accompany are either boring or stale. 

Celebrity softball?  Boring.  If I want to see a grown man try way too hard to impress his peers with how hard he can swing at a ball travelling slower than North Carolina traffic when snow is on the ground, I'd watch every single other softball game ever.  Cool, the guy from The Adventures of Pete and Pete can hit a fat baseball 220 feet.  How hard is he running though? 

The Home Run Derby?  Stale.  Unless the MLB Players Union would agree to the temporary use of horse testosterone, I'm pretty sure those balls are going to travel about 400-500 feet.  If you can spot the difference between a 450-foot home run and a 500-foot home run, then you have freakish vision.  Seriously, you missed your calling.  Also, home runs are exciting during games, but that's because they happen spontaneously.  The only suspense during the Derby involves which player will completely ignore the kid bringing him the post-dingers Gatorade.    

Oh, and Chris Berman.  That guy...

Therefore, I felt that it was my duty to come up with some better events.  I'm inspired by the ingenuity of the NBA and the spectacle of the Olympics.  Not all of these are winners, but you've got to try a lot of things.  For a few of these, I'm really only half-kidding. 

3 rules:
  1. There must be some baseball involved.  I don't want to see Evan Longoria dunking or cooking or whatever.
  2. Marketability is really important.  If the event doesn't have a snappy name, then why should it exist?
  3. I don't care about logistics.  That's MLB's problem.  I'm an ideas guy.  Think of me as a high-priced consultant who you didn't hire.
Now that we've got all that out of the way, here are some new events for MLB to try.

This is an actual game, so it should be pretty easy to coordinate.  Basically, my friends and I took my friend's older brother's super expensive baseball bat and hit everything we could find with it.  Baseballs.  Basketballs.  Cleats.  Cans.  This weird figurine we found.  So, for the ASG, we just find a random garage, grab an expensive bat and then start hitting the garage stuff with the bat.  I can't remember how you win the game, but isn't sport about the spirit of competition and not winning and losing?  I'm a Juan Encarnacion purist.  I do remember a basketball rolling pretty far down his street.  Maybe that's how you win. 

That Jamiroquai Video

Basically, put the field on a series of treadmills and see what happens.  I'm not sure a full nine-inning game is necessary.  You could always replace the Celebrity Softball game with this.  Who wouldn't want to see if Chris Pine can handle the shift from a "forwards" treadmill to a "backwards" treadmill.

That Jamiroquai Video but with trampolines

The previous event, but with trampolines instead of treadmills.  I'm leaning toward pro players now.  I feel like Carlos Gomez would be fun to watch on trampolines.  Giant floppy hats would still be required.

That Jamiroquai Video but with trampolines and treadmills

The best of both worlds.  Everything would be disguised so that none of players can anticipate anything.  Someone invent a trampoline treadmill so we can really give the fans a show.

Bo Jackson YouTube videos

We just watch Bo Jackson videos on a big screen. 

Surprise Home Run Derby

The idea here is that we take a bunch of different types of balls and make them all look like actual baseballs.  Tennis Balls, Racquetballs, Oranges, Bocce Balls, etc.  The pitcher just grabs a ball from the bucket and heaves it.  The batter is required to swing at everything.  Each home run is worth a certain amount of points based on the type of ball.  Who wouldn't enjoy seeing David Ortiz try to tee off on what he thinks is a baseball, but is actually an orange that's been painted white with red stripes.  How far can Bryce Harper hit a racquetball?  I think the Players' Union would need to ok this one.

You could also try different types of "bats" with standard baseball.  Tennis racket, golf club, submarine sandwich.  Although, there's little surprise involved there.  You could do giant wheel to pick a "bat" though.  Giant wheels = ratings.

Constant Ground Balls

Basically, we rig up a machine to just hit grounders at a fielder for like 5 minutes straight.  3 seconds apart.  Every ball the fielder successfully fields is worth a point.  Cup shots are worth two points.  Balls through the legs lose you a point.  The special "money ball" is worth five points, but it's orange because it's covered in marmalade and it's really sticky.  They really have to decide if it's worth it. 

Hot Pink Baseball

Everyone wears hot pink jerseys, pants, socks, shoes, caps, gloves, batting gloves, eye black (eye pink?) and cups (just because, you wouldn't see them).   Everything else is exactly the same.  This could also be done with neon green or electric blue.

Classy Baseball

Everyone in tuxedos.  Top hats required.  Players have to grab canes before they can run the bases.  Monocles.

Other costumed baseball ideas:
  • Grunge
  • Wizard of Oz
  • RoboCops
  • Disney Princesses
Pros vs. Kids

A team filled with kids (ages 8-10, let's say) face off against professional players.  The pros are not allowed to take it easy on the kids.  The kids also cannot take it easy on the pros.  This could also be done in hot pink.

Doritos Locos Baseball

Standard baseball but with a Nacho Cheese Doritos shell. 

Talk to Derek Jeter

This is going to be Jeter's final All-Star Game, so maybe we should just talk to him and stuff.  You know, appreciate him while he's around.  This would be particularly interesting in Minnesota as we hate the Yankees because they're good. 

Pitcher Pictures

We load up baseballs with different colored paints.  Each pitcher has to construct a work of art using those baseballs.  They stand at the mound and throw the painted balls at a reinforced canvas.  You'd really get a good idea of Justin Verlander's artistic vision.  Who's just a generic motel room artist?  Does anyone have the stones to throw out an abstract piece?  Something daring?  Matt Harvey, maybe?  Something like this, perhaps:

Arena Baseball

The playing field is smaller and covered in a metal dome.  I'm not sure what kind of metal, but something that leads to a lot of ricochets.  The fans can view from a special monitor in the concourse.  The dome would be about 12 feet above the playing field.  The ball is always in play.  No dingers, and that sucks, but think of all the ricocheting! 

No Stopping Arena Baseball

The same as the previous idea, but in this event, you're not allowed to stop running.  You either get all the way around the diamond or you're out!  This is basically my slow-pitch softball strategy.  I don't trust anyone to make an accurate throw, so I just run until I'm out or home.  My teammates love me.  This style of baseball would lead to countless "pickles," which would be exciting and exhausting.  There would still be much ricocheting. 

Watch a blogger explain advanced metrics to a random player

Can Mike Trout calculate his Hall of Fame candidacy?  Each blogger is paired with one player.  The first blogger to get their player to calculate VORP is declared the winner.  Since this is not a given, judges also award style points based on specific criteria.  Generate a genuine smile from the player - 2 points.  Give a lecture on the ills of RBI or wins - 5 points.  Player calls blogger a "wad" of any kind - 10 points.  Player admits that Michael Young is overrated - 250 points.  You know, I'm not convinced this couldn't be hot pink too.

Catcher Framing competition

The best of the best MLB catchers each have to frame a house.  To code.  In their catching gear.  It's a shame that Joe Mauer had to switch positions, as he'd have a nice height advantage. 

On second thought, maybe we just keep the Home Run Derby.  Could we at least try it in all hot pink though?


  1. Hate to be "That Guy," but the treadmills were from the OK GO video. Jamiroquai did the moving floor (actually moving room to look like a moving floor.) Still, a sound idea.

    I love the Pros vs Kids event, but it was even better last year before the plate-blocking rule went into effect.We still have the hard slide into 2nd.

    1. BLAST! My music video knowledge is so poor.

      We can make our own rules for our events. If we want kids run over, then kids will be run over.

  2. I think I commented on this back in Feb, but I think there should be other skill competitions besides the HR Derby. A fielding competition like you suggest would be awesome to watch.

    1. I agree. Of all my silly ideas, the fielding exhibition would be pretty interesting to watch.