David Heim, CBS Local Sports
The 2015 MLB Home Run Derby is next Monday, July 13, and while everyone loves a good long ball (the chicks apparently dig it), the competition has grown, well, rather boring. In fact, this year’s edition will feature a new set of rules, including brackets and timers.
Timers? Yes. For every home run hit, the batter’s timer will stop and will not resume again until he hits a ball that does not leave the yard. The competition will again feature its yearly dose of excitement, and disappointment. The fact that slugger Giancarlo Stanton will not be participating due to his recent wrist injury is a bummer in itself. But have you ever wondered what it would be like if non-baseball players were given a bat for the yearly slug fest? It will never happen outside of the yearly celebrity game, but it is still fun to think about. We often ask ourselves how a player in a particular sport would fare in another sport (e.g. LeBron in the NFL). With that being said, here are five non-baseball players who would crush the home run derby competition.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Going off pure strength here. We know Gronk has the eye coordination to catch one of Tom Brady’s fast balls, but would he be able to connect with a baseball? Hypothetically saying he could, one would expect the ball to go a mile. Gronk see ball. Gronk hit ball. Gronk hit home run. Gronk spike bat. Oh, that would be fun.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
ODB, as all the kids are calling him, took the NFL by storm with his Pro-Bowl rookie campaign. On top of that, videos surfaced of him dominating on the basketball court, soccer field, and most recently, on the pitcher’s mound. Bottom line is the kid is a freak athlete. There isn’t a doubt in my mind he knows how to swing a bat.
Ronda Rousey, UFC Fighter
Ronda Rousey is the most dominant female fighter, perhaps ever. Period. Whoever pitches to her will be forced to get the ball over the plate, or risk getting thrown into an armbar after Rousey charges the mound. You’ve got that image in your head now don’t you? Yeah you do.
J.J. Watt, DE, WR, TE, (basically everything), Houston Texans
Similar to Gronk, Watt possesses ridiculous strength. Watt can do it all on the football field. We’ve seen him put quarterbacks on the ground, block kicks, intercept passes and catch touchdowns. Give Watt a bat and let him swing away. Imagine a Gronk v. Watt swing off? Ratings!
LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
King James has often been tied to cross-sport conversations. People wonder all the time how James would fair on the gridiron, whether it be for his hometown Cleveland Browns or his favorite team – the Dallas Cowboys. In a recent interview, LeBron said the reason he skipped out on playing college football was because, “they hit too hard.” Maybe baseball is more LeBron’s speed.
If I had to pick two of the athletes above to square off in a home run derby battle, without a doubt I would chose Gronk and Watt. ODB would get some consideration, as would Rousey. But people want to see home runs! Gronk and Watt would mash.
For more on the new rule changes, click here.
David Heim is a fan of the New England Patriots and New York Yankees. He’s also a contributor to CBS Local Sports and can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @davidheim12.