Yesterday, we covered the basics of the fan experience, or the soft product of the Triple-A Skills & Challenge competition.
This installment will focus on the actual events themselves, which differed from the Home Run Derby’s of years prior.
Previously, there would be a Home Run Derby, divided into three different rounds, featuring eight hitters, which was narrowed down to four, and eventually two in the final round.
This year, the format was completely overhauled. As previously mentioned, the all-stars were divided into teams, with one player from each team participating in each event. Each team would wear a certain color, and would be cheered on by sections wearing that color’s t-shirt.
The five events were:
- Catcher’s Throwing Challenge.
- Pitcher’s Bunting Challenge
- Outfielder’s Throwing Challenge
- Specialty Hitting
- Home Run Derby
And, while the Catcher’s Throwing Challenge was exciting, I’d by lying if I wasn’t saying the other events fell flat.
During the pitcher’s bunting challenge, no one could bunt a ball into one of the hoops, so they had to modify the rules mid-game to speed things up.
The mid-event entertainment was also lackluster with the same t-shirt toss over and over again (remember, every fan was already given a few free t-shirts, so the prospect of a t-shirt toss wasn’t too exciting at that point).
Luckily, the home run derby re-energized the crowd. One of the participants was Mets’ own Zach Bournstein, who hit four home runs, including two to the opposite field, which was nice to see.
After the derby was over, the winning Orange team was given a gift, and the Columbus Gay Mens Choir serenaded us with fireworks in the background.