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What the heck is Home Run Derby X?

What the heck is Home Run Derby X?

A brand new CBA isn’t all that baseball received this year. Last week it was reported – though I just learned of the news this morning while listening to FanGraphs Effectively Wild – that MLB has launched what’s called MLB Home Run Derby X, which per ESPN is “a global baseball tour making stops in London, Seoul, South Korea and Mexico City.

Michael Clair wrote up a pretty informative explainer last Wednesday over at MLB.com, but it appears the premise of this idea is to give fans their favorite aspect of All-Star weekend – the home run derby – all season long. So far it appears that three dates have been confirmed, with a competition in London on July 9, one in Seoul on Sept. 17 and another in Mexico City on Oct. 15. More venues will be announced later.

According to MLB, Home Run Derby X was inspired “by the success and simplicity of the Home Run Derby the day before the MLB All-Star game”. There will be four teams, featuring the sport’s most historical franchises such as the LA Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and NY Yankees. The contests will take place on a “reduced version of a baseball field” with home plate on a stage and the pitcher’s mound on a podium. Almost as if MLB is trying to replicate some type of mini-game from the old-school baseball video games, batters will get 25 pitches and are allowed to take up to ten, with the chance to score points by hitting various targets that are located 160 feet from home plate. The twist, though, is that opposing teams will be allowed to play defense in the outfield, with the potential to also earn points by catching batted-balls that don’t make it over the fence. Teams on offense will earn a point for every home run or target that’s hit, while teams on defense can score by catching balls. Per ESPN, players can also call for a hot streak that will allow teams to double their points on the next five pitches.

Like the regular season in traditional baseball, each event will end with a winner, which later in the year will eventually end with a knock-out tourney during the final event to determine the Home Run Derby X Tour Champion.

Yeah… pretty weird, right?

And though the four teams will have traditional names, it obviously won’t feature actual active players from those teams. Those guys will of course be busy playing actual baseball games. In fact, each team will include four types of “players”: a Legend (former MLB player), a Superstar (a softball or women’s baseball star), a Rookie (a player from the region’s local development system or minors) and a Wild Card (an influential content creator). The Rookies for each team haven’t been announced just yet, but MLB has released all other players…

Boston Red Sox

Legend: Jonny Gomes

Superstar: Paige Halstead

Wild Card: Liv Cooke

Rookie: TBA

Chicago Cubs

Legend: Geo Soto

Superstar: Alex Hugo

Wild Card: Spencer Owen

Rookie: TBA

LA Dodgers

Legend: Adrián González

Superstar: Ashton Lansdell

Wild Card: Yoongy Kwak

Rookie: TBA

NY Yankees

Legend: Nick Swisher

Superstar: Erika Piancastelli

Superstar: Stefania Aradillas (Mexico only)

Wild Card: Daniel Corral

Rookie: TBA

I have to say, the idea does sound pretty interesting, although I still don’t fully understand the points system. Like how does a team win? Is there a point limit to reach?… or is it whichever team has the most points after a certain amount of time? From what I’ve been able to read about the event (which I admit isn’t much), it doesn’t look like all the little details are set in stone yet. I guess we’ll find out as MLB starts releasing more information. Regardless, though, I’m always game for more baseball.

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