Does the revised Gillette Home Run Derby format look a bit familiar?

It should.

Apparently, the higher-ups inside the rather cushy Major League Baseball headquarters in midtown Manhattan decided to do away with the ‘hit as many home runs as humanly possible before you get ten outs’ routine and devise a mini-NCAA Tournament like bracket.

Well, the results are in as of the games that ended on July 7 and these will be your brackets for the first roun on Monday, July 13 (8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN TV and Radio) from the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio:

1. Albert Pujols, L.A. Angels of Anaheim

8. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

4. Joc Pederson, L.A. Dodgers

5. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles

On the other side of this mini-bracket, we have:

3. Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays

6. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

2. Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds

7. Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers

The rules can best be explained are as follows:

Beginning in the first round and continuing until the third and final round, the loser of each head-to-head matchup will be automatically eliminated, while the winner advances to the next round (your basic “Survive and advance” mode”).

Each batter will have five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible.  The timer will start on the field with the release of the first pitch thrown by their batting practice man of their choosing.  Any home run hit within one minute remaining on the clock will stop the timer immediately when the ball lands in the stands (similar to the last minute of the second half and overtime in any college basketball game).

The timer will then restart again once the batter hits a ball that lands either on the field of play, goes foul, or simply swings and misses with any pitch.

Also…batters can be awarded bonus time based on home run length, of which StatCast tabulates all of the results almost instantaneously.

A batter would have to hit two homers during any round which equal or surpass 420 feet.  In this case, one minute of bonus time would be added. For every home run that lands at least 475 feet away from home plate, 30 more seconds will be added.  Players could earn up to another one minute and 30 seconds of bonus time.

Ties in any round will be broken by a 90-second swing-off, with no stoppage of time or bonus time added.  If the batters are still tied, an old Home Run Derby favorite segment in having successive three-swing swing-offs will take place until there is a winner.

Also, to hopefully speed up the overall process…

At any time the second batter in each round eclipses the first batter’s total, that round’s matchup will end immediately.  Each batter will also get one “time out” per round.

Based on my general observations of watching Home Run Derby since the early 1990’s, most home runs usually travel between 9 to 12 seconds.  Depending on how quickly their batting practice gurus fire the pitches, it will be interesting to see how many swings each batter can successfully hit in five minutes.

Hopefully, this event will not drag like the old time Princeton offense or for those of you old enough to remember the late Dean Smith and the famed Four Corners offense in the pre-shot clock era at North Carolina–midas well dust off those DVD’s just in case.

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