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MLB should complement Home Run Derby with a challenge for skills: Cal Ripken Jr.



Orioles Legend Cal Ripken Jr. has some thoughts on how to spice up the baseball's all-star game and they include MLBs borrowing a page from NBA and NHL.

"I always liked the concept and the idea of ​​skill challenge," said Ripken, who played in 19 Midsummer Classics during his Hall of Fame career. "I know that I participated in some of them early on when we had the relay race, and I think they had the fastest laps in the base … It's interesting to know who's the fastest or who's the one Fastest is. "

At the MLB FanFest on Tuesday, he talked about a very different kind of competition ̵

1; a Snapple-sponsored bottle-flipping challenge against fellow former Major Leaguer Cliff Floyd – Ripken remembered participating in the relay race and Watching Blue Jay's baseman Damaso Garcia win the fastest player challenge at the San Francisco Candlestick Park before the 1984 All-Star Game

Baseball is all The star skills competition was hardly noticed in the media back then, but Richard Justice of the Washington Post documented the exhibition the day before the 1989 All-Star Game at Anaheim's Angel Stadium:

"In today's workout, the NL All-Stars won the skill Catcher's throwing accuracy, throwing accuracy and home run derby. Tony Pena of the Cardinals and Benito Santiago of the Padres won the Catcher's throw accuracy over Terry Steinbach of the Athletics and Mickey Tettleton of the Orioles. The squadron competition was the same after the first two races, but NL trio Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg and Mike Scioscia won a one-throw playoff. They beat Mike Greenwell, Julio Franco and Tettleton.

Not mentioned in the message from Justice: Barry Larkin of Cincinnati Reds tore a tie in his right elbow during the throwing contest, which is why he missed two months.

"I heard a bang in the distance, as if it were one Shot fired, "Larkin told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2015." I felt like something was going on here. Then I realized that it was my elbow. That was not good.

The Skills Contest has been discontinued.

Beyond Home Run Derby: Baseball Should Add Skill Contests to All-Star Festivities »

" The problem is always, are you? I risk injury by myself do something like that, but I think if you think about some of the skills, I think the fans would be interested in that, "said Ripken.

Grant's Brisbee from SB Nation suggested some ideas for an all-star skill challenge the concept is revived, the best of which is the Pitcher Home Run Derby, how big would it be to see Madison Bumgarner and Max Scherzer swinging for the fences?

The hit runner's home run derby is the extent of baseball Skill competition in the All-Star Game these days, and Ripken knows the competition well, in 1985 he took part in the first modern derby and graduated with a home run in Minneapolis & # 39; Metrodome He later won the home run derby in Toronto's SkyDome with 12 Dinger, a record at that time.

"I just wanted to take regular [batting practice] because I was pretty good at the time," Ripken said Tuesday about his approach in Toronto. "I did not want to upset my momentum – balls simply flew out so you could play a role."

When Ripken competed in the Home Run Derby, players had 10 "outs" to score as many homeruns as possible to meet. Any ball that had not cleared the fence was considered out. The format of the Home Run Derby has evolved over the years to several rounds, a timer and a reward for extra long home runs.

"It's a lot more exciting to put a watch on it," Ripken said. "It's more action-oriented, I think the clock is a really good match, and the bonus balls and stuff are fun to watch and I'm sad that I missed it [Monday] night."

( Ripken was at another promotional event on Monday and learned that Bryce Harper won the Home Run Derby by alerting him on his cell phone, and I get the charges, especially from Cubs fans, that Harper and his father in the last round were Kyle Schwarber

Ripken, who had lost Floyd's first bottle expedition, also weighed on the pressure and investigation that Harper and soon-to-be Orioles third baseman Manny Machado face uncertainties about their future. It is expected that Baltimore will make a deal to send Machado to the Dodgers on Wednesday, while Harper will become a free agent after the season.

"Sometimes the uncertainty about what's going to happen at the end of your time can come in payday by day and rob you of your focus, or make you try harder," said Ripken. "[The Orioles] fired my father in 1988 and I was also a freelance agent at the end of this year, assuming that I would not resign, so they accepted all sorts of trading offers and it was the most disquieting time in my life. "

Ripken signed a $ 6 million three-year contract at the end of July, which gave him some peace of mind.

"Some players do it differently and better than others," Ripken said. "I know it bothered me not to know for sure where I was going."


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