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ESPN Turns the Clock Back, Back, Back to Times We'd Rather Forget at Home Run Derby

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How far did you make it during last night's home run derby before you couldn't handle any more? End of the first round? End of the second round? Did you, dare I say, sit and watch the whole thing with the sound at full blast? (I can only assume if you did you were in some sort of Clockwork Orange-type device that kept you restrained with someone putting droppers in your eyes.) In case you missed it, Prince Fielder won the thing. He was even kind enough to speak with SN afterward. ↵

↵Yeah, Mr. Deux Deux Deux was his usual overblown self, but that's really all just noise now. On this night, the King of Terrible was none other than the ridiculous new -- or, more appropriately resurrected -- Ball Tracker from ESPN. (You can watch the pretty colors here on MLB.com, which still refuses to create an embeddable video player.) ↵

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↵Check the calendars folks. It's 2009. We're 13 years removed from the birth of FoxTrax, which gave us the glowing puck on FOX, something that was ridiculed as one of the sillier ideas ever in the history of sports broadcasting. Evidently ESPN thought enough time had passed that it was time to bring it back. ↵

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↵Not only was it not time to bring it back, but Ball Tracker was quite possibly dumber than anything FoxTrax ever did. For some reason, it was part of every hit. It only appeared on certain balls -- at least early on. ↵
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↵FoxTrax was silly and sort of a novelty, so I can't imagine anyone took it seriously. Maybe ESPN's mistake was touting Ball Tracker as something we should care about at all. This was going to revolutionize how we watched home run derby night! (My way to revolutionize my viewing experience: the mute button.) We were going to see when a ball was passing into the stands, not by the fact that someone sitting in the seats caught the ball, but a glowing tail would turn from orange to green. Brilliant! Because I would've been otherwise clueless as to what was happening in the stands when 20 people piled on top of each other after a ball was hit. The real-time measurements of the home runs was a nice touch, but couldn't that have been achieved without the glowing tail that would immediately call FoxTrax to mind? ↵

↵The whole home run derby was one giant anti-climax from start to finish. Albert Pujols, who seems to be hitting home runs with his mind, couldn't hit one of two BP pitches out to win a guy a prize. The hometown hero also wasn't part of the final. It was all kind of the MLB equivalent of when Birdman Andersen kept missing dunks at the NBA All-Star Game. You just wanted it to end. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.