Ladies and gentleman, the MLB All-Star break is upon us once again.
A time for baseball’s biggest and brightest stars to convene together in one city and put on a show for fans around the world.
Aaron Judge dominated in last night’s Home Run Derby, smacking 47 bombs deep over the outfield wall of Marlins Park to win the competition in style.
Today, 64 of the league’s best players will compete in the Midsummer Classic for the opportunity to earn home-field advantage in the World Series.
What a time to be a baseball fan!
I’ve always loved the MLB All-Star Game, and who doesn’t enjoy the Home Run Derby? It’s entertainment at it’s finest.
But what if there was more to this week’s festivities? What if there were more events, more competitions, more contests?
The NBA not only has an All-Star Game and a dunk contest, it has a three-point shootout and a skills challenge as well. The NHL also has a variety of different competitions during its All-Star break that tests players’ shooting accuracy, shooting power and speed skating.
Why doesn’t the MLB have that? Well, I’m here to make my sales pitch to Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Starting in 2018, there should be two more events added to the schedule along with the Home Run Derby.
The first challenge would be the “Four-Base Dash,” a spinoff from the NFL Combine’s 40-yard dash. Competitors would begin at home plate and sprint from base to base as if they’d just smacked an inside-the-park home run.
The player with the fastest time after several rounds would win the event.
Can you imagine a competition testing the speed of guys like Billy Hamilton, Trea Turner, Dee Gordon and Lorenzo Cain? That’s must-see television right there.
Fans love to debate who the quickest athlete in the MLB is. This contest would finally answer that question.
The other event that should be added to the All-Star week is the “Long Toss Challenge,” a test of pure arm strength. Competitors would get a running start on the warning track in center field before launching a ball as far as they could towards home plate.
The player whose ball landed closest to home would win the competition.
Outfielders like Yasiel Puig, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Harper would put on a show, but what about Aroldis Chapman and Noah Syndergaard? Those guys consistently throw 100 mph on the mound. Who would have the stronger arm?
The "Long Toss Challenge” would answer that question.
These two events might seem simple in nature, but they’d go a long way in adding intrigue and excitement to MLB All-Star week.
Ok Commissioner Manfred, let’s make this happen.
Dylan Dixon is sports editor of the Alligator. His column appears frequently on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at [email protected]