Home Run Derby as fun to watch as bass fishing

It’s supposed to be the highlight of the Midsummer Classic. More exciting than the All-Star Game itself, they say. Brings out the little kid in all of us, we’re told, this amazing display of power and might that lifts us right up out of our seats.

Sure. I’ll rise out of my seat for a couple of glorified batting practice sessions — about the same time I rise to cheer on a bunch of losers shoving wet hot dogs down their throats and risking serious mandibular injury for something called the Mustard Belt.

Yes, I’ll get excited about Home Run Derby right after I catch my breath from the latest scintillating bass-fishing competition on ESPN, where those guys who look like they’re auditioning for the new Brawny paper towel commercial sit around in streams pre-stocked with oversized fish, patiently waiting for the camera to turn away from them so they can chug another Pabst from the Styrofoam cooler hidden under their tackle box.

I’ll get just as jacked up for tonight’s Derby as I used to for the NBA All-Star 2-Ball contest, in which WNBA players we never heard of competed with real NBA stars in the most desperate pairing of athletes to save a failing league since XFL owner Vince McMahon put linebackers Dick Butkus and Brian Bosworth together to talk trash about the NFL.

The Home Run Derby, along with the insufferable Chris Berman’s old, tired and forced “Back, back, back!” calls, outlived its usefulness years ago. It’s the Chevy Chase of skills competitions.

I mean, we’re talking about senior citizen bullpen coaches throwing 65 mph belt-high “fastballs” into the wheelhouses of puffed-up superstars who are more than likely cheating to boot. (Remember Sammy Sosa’s corked bat? The one he claimed was a BP bat that he used only when putting on rocket-launching shows for his fans?)

The entire event is a joke, yet all we’ve heard in the last week or so is how disappointing it is that Barry Bonds won’t be participating in the Derby in his home park, in what will likely be his final All-Star appearance. Can you blame him? After all, fans around the country boo every time Bonds does hit a home run — and now we complain when he actually refuses to hit them? Give the guy a break.

But wait a second. Hold on. Let’s ponder this for a moment or two. Let’s consider the two entities involved:

On one hand, we have Barry Bonds, the man who used an inexplicable, late-career home run barrage fueled by freakishly large muscles to put himself within four home runs of the most hallowed record in baseball history.

On the other hand, we have Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby, an embarrassing display of fraudulent power in which home runs that don’t mean anything are pounded out in record numbers in San Francisco.

Holy testosterone! They DO belong together! Barry and the Derby — a match made in hell!

Looks like I owe MLB a big apology! If Barry’s in, I WILL watch tonight’s televised batting practice! Right after I finish the 1996 World Series of Poker on VHS. And after the Michelle Wie highlight show on the Golf Channel. After Fox’s “50 Best Damn Hilarious Mascot Hijinks.” And after a Jeanette “Black Widow” Lee billiards trick-shot special on ESPN. And a two-hour video loop of Emmitt Smith’s winning performance on “Dancing With the Stars.”

By then, I’ll watch the batting practice thing. I promise.

Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@examiner.com.

Other Sportssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott listens at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Will the Biden Administration help SF speed up police reform?

City has struggled to implement changes without federal oversight

Lowell High School (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students, families call for culture shift at Lowell after racist incident

District to explore changes including possible revision of admissions policy

Alan Wong was among California National Guard members deployed to Sacramento to provide security the weekend before the presidential inauguration. (Courtesy photo)
CCSF board member tests positive for COVID-19 after National Guard deployment

Alan Wong spent eight days in Sacramento protecting State Capitol before Inauguration Day

Due to a lack of votes in his favor, record-holding former Giant Barry Bonds (pictured at tribute to Willie McCovey in 2018) will not be entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Ex-Giants star Barry Bonds again falls short of Hall of Fame

After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League… Continue reading

San Francisco firefighter Keith Baraka has filed suit against The City alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation.<ins></ins>
Gay black firefighter sues city for discrimination

A San Francisco firefighter who says he was harassed and discriminated against… Continue reading

Most Read