The Home Run Derby was a fun idea and it led to some fun memories. Josh Hamilton, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Bobby Abreu and a few others gave us thrills. But like any quirk idea, the novelty wears off after a while. Lately, it's become pretty much a joke.
Yesterday, Robinson Cano was going to try it. Today, he pulled out. Pujols doesn't want any part of it. Ryan Howard said no thanks. What is happening is that playing baseball is a business for these players and for their employers. A lot of money is invested in these players and these players have a lot invested in staying as healthy as possible. So other than a chance to become a home run hitting legend, there isn't any incentive in trying to become a Home Run Derby champion.
But even besides the fact that the best sluggers don't want to participate, the format is clunky and unwieldy. The darn thing takes forever with a lot of dead time filled up with announcers. The guy who hits the most homers doesn't always win (it's the round that counts) and the viewing public gets to watch a batter let a hundred pitches go by that don't meet homer-crushing specs.
The Home Run Derby is tired and it's time to put it to rest. It's still a lot more fun than a stupid celebrity softball game, but less so every year.