Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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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.
- With his seventh inning triple, Cody Bellinger became the first Dodger rookie to complete the cycle. The triple was not shy of Bellinger, and I am starting to think that this guy might be what the scouts call "good."
- The Dodgers keep winning and did so for the eighth consecutive time Saturday night. The sun rises, the Dodgers win, the sky is blue, and Yasiel Puig gets thrown at.
- *SpongeBob narrator voice* 16 innings later. That’s how many innings it took for the Yankees to finally beat the Red Sox.
- The Padres beat the Giants in the ninth inning of Madison Bumgarner’s impressive return. But any day Bumgarner isn’t getting injured doing things that 16-year-olds like watching as sports is a good day for the Giants.
- The only thing better than Very Good Baseball Dogs are Very Good Baseball Dogs Who Also Dabble in Surfing. This link contains the Oakland Athletics enabling exactly those kinds of dogs and maybe one polar bear.
- Let’s talk about juiced baseballs, baby. Let’s talk about Aaron Judge and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.
- Khris Davis bowled his helmet into his mobbing teammates at home plate after hitting a homer to walk-off the Indians. It was glorious. He can compare notes with Bryce Harper.
- You should also know that Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman ran with a dinosaur (no word on if it was Carl Edwards Jr. in the costume) and Zack Cozart finally got his donkey. You should know these things because I care about you. You're welcome.