Home Run Derby Did More For Baseball In 3 Hours Than The Last 3 Years Did


With the 159th blast of the 2015 Home Run Derby, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier brought down the house and accomplished something that hasn't been done in 25 years.

Indeed, by the time Frazier cranked the Derby-winning homer at the start of his 30-second bonus time, the night was already a massive success.

After two years of tinkering following a decade of stagnation, Major League Baseball may finally have their Home Run Derby format for the foreseeable future.

Last night's competition consisted of eight players, seeded one through eight based on their 2015 home run totals for the first half of the season.

And just like most other playoffs, the one-seed faced the eight-seed, the two-seed faced the seven-seed, and so on and so forth.

In each head-to-head round, the lower seed batted second.

Basically, it was a bracket-style elimination competition, which created intrigue, narrative and a whole hell of a lot of long balls.

Another major caveat to last night's Derby was the inception of a timer.

With each participant's round determined by a four-minute clock -- it was originally five, but MLB moved to four based on weather concerns -- rather than the number of "outs" they received, hitters could no longer take as many pitches as they wanted.

As part of the new rules, pitchers couldn't throw until the previous hit landed, home run or not, and batters were allowed one timeout during the four-minute period. The new "bonus round" provided another added dimension of excitement.

The new rules are great, but it was the participants, the fans and the appearance of a few Cincinnati Reds legends that did more for baseball in three hours than what's been done in the last three years.

Despite his controversial past, long-time Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose joined the FOX crew to kick off the festivities.

And another former Reds great, Sean Casey, made one of the plays of the day in deep left field.

Texas Ranger Prince Fielder got knocked out in the first round, but he still managed to snag some cotton candy from his son.

And speaking of fathers, Kris Bryant had to remind his dad there was still a bonus round to play.

One of the best stories of the night was 35-year-old Albert Pujols, who hasn't attended All-Star festivities in five years.

But a better story is his relationship with Joc Pederson's brother, Champ, who has Down syndrome.

And to think:

Of course, this is still about the homers, right?

Pujols hit a few that looked destined for Mars.

And so did Cubs rookie Kris Bryant.

Prince Fielder and Josh Donaldson didn't make the finals, but they still put on a show.

Just like the Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado.

The Dodgers' 23-year-old Joc Pederson cruised into the finals on the heels of a 487-foot golf shot.

But in the end, hometown hero Todd Frazier became the first player since Ryne Sandberg in 1990 to win the Home Run Derby in his home ballpark.

ESPN's Darren Rovell was concerned Frazier wouldn't get the trophy he deserved.

But in his own castle, you know the Home Run Derby king reigns supreme.

Citations: HR Derby fun: Ex-Tiger Sean Casey makes a great catch (Detroit Free Press), Home Run Derby Five-Minute Guide: Everything you need to know (Sports Illustrated)