CHANGE JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ABOUT YOURSELF, HOME RUN DERBY
The format (either whatever nonsensical playoff-bracket style they are using this year, or the boring old format of years past) is simply broken. Nothing about it is entertaining or fun. It feels like work for everyone, both the players trying to squeeze another couple of home runs out of their last "outs", and the fans trying to keep up with the half-dozen minor changes every year. Just scrap it all. The only thing that should stay the same is that it's a bunch of all-stars trying to hit home runs in ugly All-Star caps so New Era can get a nice boost in sales during July.
EXPAND THE FIELD
Hold on, I know that seems like it would only make things longer, but I'll get to that later. In the meantime, it would be a lot more captivating if fans of every team (or at least most teams) had a horse in the race. Expand the field to somewhere between 20 and 30 players (or, more simply, each team that sends a hitter to the ASG gets to participate. This year, that would be 23 guys), getting more eyes on the event. Plus, who wouldn't want to see Dee Gordon in a Home Run Derby?
1 ROUND, 10 SWINGS, 1 WINNER
It's simple. All 20-30 batters get 10 swings. Home Run or not, it counts against that number. At the end of the 20ish batters getting 10 swings, whomever has the most home runs in that time wins. That's it. Game over. Come back tomorrow for an actual baseball game.
NO MORE TAKING STRIKES
Needlessly adding minutes and minutes per batter is guys just staring at pitches down the middle. Screw that. Have an umpire back there. If you don't swing at a strike, it counts against your swing total. Don't like it? Get a better pitcher next year. Alternatively, don't take such a silly thing so seriously.
MAKE IT ALL ABOUT CHARITY
Let's say you win the one-round home run derby by hitting 7 homers in your 10 swings. Awesome! Here is a $100,000 for the local charity of your choice. Did you show up and lose? Don't worry about it, Puig, here is $10,000 for The Boys and Girls Clubs of Los Angeles. If there is a tie, either the two winners can split the prize, or the sponsors can pony up a second grand prize, their choice.
So now, worst case scenario, even if it's still boring as crap and takes 4 hours, at least we raised ~$250,000 for local charities in almost every MLB city. Good publicity for the players, the event and the league itself (as well as Taco Bell or State Farm or wherever the money for the donations come from).
WINNER GETS 10 1ST PLACE VOTES FOR MVP
Just kidding. Wouldn't that be really stupid? What next, the All-Star Game determining home field advantage for the World Series?
There it is, five simple steps to fixing the Home Run Derby and making sure the ESPYs aren't the 2nd most exciting thing in sports the second week of July.
You're Welcome, Major League Baseball.
Good luck to Pujols in the actual Home Run Derby. Also, hopefully the AL wins the ASG so we can get Game 7.... in Kansas City.