The 2013 Home Run Derby on ESPN is essentially a worst case scenario for baseball fans.
The commentary team for the event will include Chris Berman, Nomar Garciaparra, and John Kruk. Buster Olney and Pedro Gomez will serve as reporters for the event, and I question why one, let alone two, are even necessary. Two of ESPN's most polarizing commentators (Berman and Kruk) calling the same event should make for a bombastic night on Twitter, and unlike other events, people will actively avoid watching something with Berman calling it.
But that's not all, if you can even imagine that. The telecast of the Derby will kick off with a live musical (and I use that term loosely) by Pitbull, which is clearly another example of MLB tapping into their primary fanbase of old white males.
There will also be a lead-in episode of Baseball Tonight with Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, Curt Schilling, and Kruk on set (OK, so two out of four ain't bad), and Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will be providing play-by-play of the event over the PA system at Citi Field, in case you think you can escape a painful experience by attending the event.
However, ESPN's production of the Derby isn't all negative. It'll be streamed on WatchESPN and all compatible devices, as most events on the network are. The opening segment of the broadcast will be a a montage of the best home runs in New York history. Another camera has been added to the telecast to accurately and instantly calculate the distance of the home runs hit. ESPN.com will have an interactive Home Run Derby Tracker hub with the stream of the event and other goodies.
As you may expect from Bristol, there are positives with negatives. For every fantastic interactive hub they have, there's Berman spouting off his litany of cliches and Pitbull leading off the broadcast. You've gotta take the bad with the good, but ESPN is really making it difficult to do that with the level of bad on the horizon with the Derby this year.