Why must it take three hours to complete the Home Run Derby? On Tuesday, one day after another sluggish derby, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig offered a blunt explanation.
“Television wants a three-hour program,” he said.
ESPN airs the derby, part of a television rights package that pays Major League Baseball an average of $700 million per year. The derby is ESPN’s highest-rated program every summer, except in World Cup years.
An ESPN spokesman declined to comment on whether the network insists upon a three-hour broadcast and whether it would consider a shorter one.
Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies, the captain of the National League derby squad, said he did not believe the derby dragged.
“It doesn’t bother me how long it is,” Tulowitzki said. “I would stay out all night and take batting practice all night if they let me. Hopefully, they make it longer.”
Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who watched the contest but did not participate, would not mind a crisper derby.
“After you see the first round, it’s, ‘All right, we’ve seen everybody,’ ” he said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Oh, a home run?’ ”
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