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The KBO has All-Star festivities figured out

Sunday’s Say Hey Baseball talks about a dreaded three-letter word, dinosaurs, and cycles.

T-Mobile Home Run Derby Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

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A couple of days removed from the All-Star break, the lasers of the Home Run Derby are but a distant memory. No dinger-loving baseball fan would discount the show that Aaron Judge and company put on last week. The event even pulled in more viewers than the NFL Pro Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game.

However, though the Korean Baseball Organization sometimes has trouble matching MLB in talent, it has never had trouble beating the league in (whispers so former players can’t hear) fun. MLB could always use some more of it, and maybe that means borrowing from some of the competitions that wrapped up on Saturday in Daegu, South Korea.

Fans have often pointed to the NHL’s skills competitions as something MLB could integrate into its own All-Star festivities, and the KBO provides a blueprint. In particular, there’s the Perfect Pitcher competition and the Perfect Hitter competition. (There’s no Perfect Bunting competition yet, but I believe that if we keep insisting upon justice, we will get there as a people.)

The Perfect Pitching competition involves pitchers attempting to hit as many bats as possible, which, OK, doesn’t sound optimal, but the bats are batterless, and it would give Aroldis Chapman something to be good at again. This year, LHP Hyun-Seung Lee of the Doosan Bears won it in a ~sudden death~ round. Sudden death! This feels like a no-brainer.

There’s even something for those They-Fan DH Haters Club members out there: RELIEF PITCHER Yoon-Dong Kim of The Kia Tigers cleaned up at the Perfect Hitter competition. The event features hitters trying to hit balls off a tee to hit targets scattered across the field. Tee work is maybe the last thing you want to watch your favorite player do, but throw a countdown clock in there, maybe some teams, and I’m in. Jake Arrieta might have to wait another day to hit pumps in a Pitcher Home Run Derby, but this would probably appease him until then.

The KBO has its own Home Run Derby called the Home Run Race, which is split into two days, effectively combatting the fatigue MLB players experience in later rounds. It’s OK to admit that the final rounds of the Home Run Derby are sometimes the least exciting because with fatigue comes dropped bat heads, and with dropped bat heads come pop flies. Even though pop flies mean watching the tiny people in the outfield attempt to read major league fly balls and, ya know, try not to collide with each other at full speed, they do not make for the most fun here.

If we’re already going to campaign for a longer All-Star break, what’s an extra day or two for the most moonshottiest long balls and inclusion of those less tater-oriented among us? The All-Star Game was one of the most fun in years, or at least the only one that featured a gold-plated catcher taking a posed photo of an ump and the batter. The KBO has the fun thing figured out, and Rob Manfred would benefit from taking a few notes. In the meantime, throw some KBO games into your regularly scheduled mix of MLB.