In a stunning move, MLB has launched an exciting initiative to grow the game globally with sights on a younger demographic, particularly those unfamiliar with baseball.
Home Run Derby X is a modern twist on the traditional version; let’s explore it further.
Instead of individual sluggers competing against each other, Home Run Derby X features four of the most iconic MLB teams: Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs.
Each team comprises four members:
- MLB LEGEND
- SUPERSTAR from women’s baseball/softball
- WILD CARD
Stay tuned for more about the participants over the next few days.
The Home Run Derby X global tour visits just three cities in 2022, so we are incredibly privileged that London was chosen as one. The other venues are Mexico City and Seoul.
It all kicks off on Saturday 9 July at Crystal Palace Park, London. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster and are just £ 33.00 for this nine-hour extravaganza.
New and exciting format
Obviously, the “get off my lawn” brigade will hate any changes, but the new format feels fresh, exciting and dynamic.
Firstly, the action takes place with home plate mounted on a stage and a pitcher’s mound on a podium. The specially-designed field includes targets positioned 50 metres from home plate and a couple beyond the outfield fences.
The specially created field is smaller than a traditional baseball field, with a width of around 45° rather than the more standard 90°.
Each player will receive 25 pitches and points are scored by homers and hitting the special targets. However, opponents score points with successful catches. In addition, the hitter can specify five consecutive pitches as a hot streak which doubles any points scored.
Bring the noise!
Hip-hop star AJ Tracey is headlining the event. A big US sports fan, AJ named his last album “Flu Game” after that time when former White Sox minor leaguer, Michael Jordan, played through illness in the NBA Finals.
With quotes like this, the London-born star is proving great value:
“London never sleeps, I love it. I’m from here, I grew up here, it’s like performing in my back garden. It’s exciting, multi-cultural, has energy, it’s busy and never quiet. My sets always bring the noise and I’m gassed to bring baseball culture to a new crowd. It’ll be a clash of music, sports, big hits, mad catches. Big show this summer, Crystal Palace Park, it’s due to be lit. Home Run Derby X – we’re gonna turn up.”
On the day
Gates open at midday with live DJs and a wide selection of refreshments in the Ballpark Food Village.
The Home Run Derby X preliminary rounds are in the afternoon, with the finals and AJ Tracey in the evening session.
Don’t miss this full-day festival of music, food, and baseball. Get your tickets today, and bring along your non-baseball mates. This could convert them.
Stay tuned to Bat Flips & Nerds this week, and we will get you up to speed with the participants in this historic event.
Photo of Michael Jordan by John Swart
Gav is one of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips & Teams. You can follow him on Twitter @GavTramps.