OK, that’s not exactly how the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff greeted the news that lifelong ESPN fixture Chris Berman’s drastically reduced role at the network would no longer include MLB’s Home Run Derby. But close enough!
In less than two years’ time, the Derby has transformed from the bane of many people’s existence — including that of Bud Selig’s delightful wife, Sue, as mentioned in my 2015 piece — to a legitimately enjoyable night for both those attending in person and those watching on TV. It’s easier to watch, thanks to the revised format (a head-to-head bracket, a four-minute time limit instead of “outs”), and it’s now easier to listen to it, thanks to Berman’s significantly reduced schedule, which was announced Thursday.
Look, I still think, thousands of years from now, folks will put the Derby in the “Cons” column when assessing these times. We’ve got to aim higher as a species.
It doesn’t matter who will assume Berman’s role as the Derby’s head carnival barker. It could be another jock-sniffing broadcaster, or Jim J. Bullock, or Ted Cruz. It will be better now, rest assured.
Really, if baseball can turn its Home Run Derby from a galactic debacle to a bona fide asset, then what can’t we accomplish on this planet?
It took nearly a dozen years, but finally there’s someone else in sports media with the guts to play The Jm J. Bullock Card.