MLB batted around Home Run Derby idea in wake of coronavirus

If the NBA can have H-O-R-S-E, could MLB eliminate the O-S-E and have HR?

Unlikely. But not without it being at least a thought.

MLB officials did bat around the idea of staging a Home Run Derby as a way to derive some revenue during the coronavirus pandemic while providing baseball entertainment to help keep the sport vibrant in fans’ minds.

The logistic problems just appear too great.

While an NBA star could have a court at home or access to a hoop that would not entail others be with him — or very few if, for example, a cameraman were needed to film it — no major league player has a baseball field in his house.

Stadiums would have to be opened and how many municipalities are ready to do that, at least now while the virus is still rampant in the country?

And the facilities are just part of the problem. In theory, you could eliminate a catcher and have a pitching machine deliver pitches. But someone would still have to load the machine and the field would have to be prepped in some fashion and some level of security might be needed and players would have to get to the stadium and a few cameramen would be necessary.

Many players have shunned the Home Run Derby that is part of the All-Star Game festivities for a variety of reasons, including concerns about swinging all out so much and risking injury.

Would players not in game shape shun this kind of competition even more? Would you need trainers and doctors on the premise just in case?

Could you try to do this in areas in which many players live such as Florida, Arizona and Southern California and have the players come to the park one at a time to compete? Could you do this with recently retired players as a way to avoid injuring current stars?

The most spare version of this would resemble the 1960s “Home Run Derby” show that featured the great sluggers of that era, including Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline, who passed away Monday.

For now, though, it is all a little too much to pull off for MLB. But officials are brainstorming on not just a variety of ways to play a shortened season, but on events that might have benefits as well.

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