MLB licking their chops at potential Stanton vs. Judge home run derby

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Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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In a league that is starving for marketable star power, a face-off between it’s two most prodigious power-hitters is a dream come true.

The Miami Marlins have a power hitter whose monstrous home runs have been the source of the teams only national publicity. Giancarlo Stanton is the most marketable star on the Miami Marlins, and one of the most recognizable players in Major League Baseball.

His performance in last years home run derby was the type of marketing gold-mine that the MLB is looking to cash in on again this year. With the emergence of Aaron Judge in the American League, they’re salivating at the potential gains.

Stanton will be defending his title in the home run derby this year. If Aaron Judge joins him, it will be one of the most anticipated iterations of the event in years.

Last year, many feared that holding the All-Star game in a location like Petco Park would make for a boring home run derby. That wasn’t the case. Giancarlo Stanton showed up in his home state in a major way, winning the tournament convincingly.

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With the event being held in Marlins Park this year, it was a forgone conclusion that Stanton would be returning. With his participation confirmed, all eyes turn to Aaron Judge. The rookie sensation for the New York Yankees has already been formally invited to the event, but is yet to confirm he will be taking part.

If he does, it would be a boon for Major League Baseball. This would be the kind of event that hoards of impressionable 5-12-year old baseball fans would watch. It could make inroads towards securing the next generation of fans.

Best chance in years

It’s no mystery that baseball’s fan base is aging. Enrollment in youth baseball is as high as ever, but it seems like anytime you look around a ballpark, it’s all dads with no sons. Those who are consuming baseball content are old. This home run derby could help change that.

Most of you will recall the “chicks dig the long-ball” commercial that featured Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux in the 90’s. In case you don’t:

Not only do chicks dig it, but so do young, impressionable, prospective baseball fans. Watching Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa drilling balls out of the ballpark left an indelible mark on me as a child. The home run derby has failed to live up to the hype since then.

Odds are high that Judge will agree to participate in the event. In his rookie year, and going to the All-Star game, this is all brand new to him. He hasn’t been jaded by years of heartless arbitration negotiations yet.

Home runs are the most exciting thing that can happen in a baseball game. It’s everything in one big swing. The ball rockets away from the bat, climbing, climbing, climbing ever higher, until it reaches it’s apex and begins it’s riotous descent back to the earth.

It’s fall is simultaneously graceful and violent. It’s a temporary triumph of man over physics. They have a way of making kids dream that they’ll one day be launching home runs on televisions across the country. That’s exactly what Major League Baseball wants.

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When it does take place, it is the best opportunity for Major League Baseball in years. To say it would overshadow the other events during the break would be a tremendous understatement. It would be worthy of top billing, ahead of the actual All-Star game.

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