The NBA has the “Slam Dunk Contest”, “3-Point Shoot Out”, and the “Skills Challenge”. The NHL has 5 different Skill Competitions, including a Breakaway Competition and a Shoot-Out.. Exciting stuff, especially for younger fans. For us 80’s kids, Jordan’s foul-line dunk pose is something forever stamped in our minds and old sneakers.
Baseball has of course – the “Home Run Derby” … is it good? ..I like it, but its not enough…
There should be a “Stolen Base Derby” !!!!!
Who wouldn’t want to see the game’s best base-stealers VS. an Andy Pettitte/Pudge Rodriguez battery??? Thats like a slice of baseball heaven ..Its the year 2010, and we’re currently in the midst of a post-steroid fallout era in which theres ALREADY been 2 No Hitters and 2, well maybe 3, Perfect Games this year.. thats almost beyond words. But lets not forget the jump in stolen bases as well. Last year, we saw 2,970 stolen bases. Thats the most since 2001, and there was also a wopping 4,104 attempts. That number appears to be rising again this year.. The game is obviously changing, and maybe this is a good time to introduce an all out Steal-a-Thon to the All-star festivities, even if it isn’t the days of Rickey Henderson or Lou Brock..
So who should be in it? Theres big names like Ichiro, Reyes, Crawford, and Pierre .. lesser knowns: Rajai Davis, Brett Gardner, Michael Bourn, Scott Podsednik, Drew Stubbs..or potential future studs Andrew McCutchen and Elvis Andrus.. even a guy like Shane Victorino could bang out some serious sb’s!
And how would it work?
Well thats the tough part, which I haven’t 100% figured out – around 8 base-running contestants (like the Hr derby) seems to be good, but the most important aspect would be the battery.. Probably more then 1 battery would be needed so the catchers and pitchers don’t throw their arms out.. And how many attempts do we give each runner? .. Maybe in the 10 to 15 range?.. If the runner gets picked-off at 1st base too many times, he should be done for the night.. It would be great to see a guy like Andy Pettitte, with such a great pick-off move, as part of it ..and Pudge has long
been considered one of the toughest catchers to steal on… But theres a couple of nagging things that really has me stuck. 1) It would be terrible and pointless if one of the defenders hurt his arm..and 2) I suppose a runner can pull a hammy, or twist an ankle, or some other leg injury.. maybe these are the reasons why we haven’t seen a Stolen Base Derby yet..
or maybe never will .. But as a kid, a stolen base was more fun for me then a home run, and still is.