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The Home Run Derby is tonight, and this is all the information you need to know.
Even if someone doesn’t like or watch the MLB All-Star Game, they probably know about the Home Run Derby, and chances are they care. The sexiest part about baseball is the long ball; watching a human being obliterate a ball and knocking it into orbit is a marvel that spans over a hundred years. Baseball folk love to romanticize things like the way the game is played, and the home run counts the same and looks the same as it did back in 1918.
Some things have changed, though. The Home Run Derby existing is a change from the way we thought about home runs in 1918 (it’s also televised, which is something that didn’t happen in 1918). But at its heart, the Derby is a celebration of how fun baseball can be and is a throwback to the old days when kids would get together and try to hit as many balls as far as they could.
Because it’s 2018, people like to complain about everything. Maybe it was that way 100 years ago, but Twitter certainly didn’t exist to stoke the coals. Love it or hate it, the Derby has been a little stale in recent years but the group put together in Washington this year could give us an event for the ages.
Who Is Competing?
- Javier Baez, Cubs
- Bryce Harper, Nationals
- Max Muncy, Dodgers
- Kyle Schwarber, Cubs
- Freddie Freeman, Braves
- Jesus Aguilar, Brewers
- Rhys Hoskins, Phillies
- Alex Bregman, Astros
Having Harper in the Derby is like LeBron James doing the Slam Dunk contest. It’s going to be appointment viewing. Come for Harper, stay for the other sluggers you’re going to fall in love with.
How Does It Work?
You can’t be blamed for not knowing how the Home Run Derby works, because it changes all the time. It should be simple: whoever hits the most home runs wins. This is baseball, though, and nothing is simple.
Here’s how it works this year:
- Players are split into two sides of a bracket, creating two head-to-head matchups on both sides
- Within those matchups, each hitter gets four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible
- Bonus time of 30-seconds is awarded for home runs of 440-feet and further.
- Ties are broken by giving each hitter an additional minute of extra time. If a tie persists, we move to a three swing sudden death round.
- The winner of each head-to-head advances until we have a champion.
That’s way more complicated than it needs to be, but it’s actually much simpler than in some recent years. Things will never be as easy as they used to be, but this is at least interesting enough to hold our attention.
Who Is Going To Win?
This one is tough, but the odds favor Jesus Aguilar at 7-2. It’s going to be hard to bet against Harper winning the derby in his home stadium, which could be part of his eventual farewell tour. Javier Baez is a popular choice, but Kyle Schwarber might be the Cubs player who lasts the longest.
Where To Watch?
TV Channel: ESPN
Start Time: 8pm ET
Where: Nationals Park
Stream: Free with a 7-Day Trial of FuboTV