There aren’t any baseball games tonight (July 12), which would normally be cause for consternation around the MTV Newsroom. (Of all the sports fandom represented, the baseball obsession runs deeper than all others.) But that’s not a problem, because tonight is the annual Home Run Derby, the marquee event during Major League Baseball’s All-Star break.
Like the NBA dunk competition, it aims to take the single most exciting moment in baseball — the being the glory of the home run — and keep it exciting for the entire overlong duration of a single competition. Over the past few years, the Home Run Derby has become oddly bloodless, as it rarely features the elite home run hitters (tonight’s competition features barely-making-contact Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Corey Hart, who hasn’t exactly been putting on a laser show as of late) and because the competition gets dragged out longer than it needs to be. After all, the great joy of a home run during a baseball game is how quickly it reverses the fortunes of the teams involved. When nothing is at stake, how could it possibly remain interesting?
There’s one way to keep it a little more lively, and that’s to mute Chris Berman on your television and replace his shrill nattering with the video playlist below. It contains a dozen high-impact songs about general destruction (P.O.D.’s “Boom,” the Hives’ “Tick Tick Boom,” Chimaira’s “Power Trip,” Art Brut’s “Direct Hit”) as well as a song or two that could be about baseball (Trace Adkins’ “Swing,” Tom Petty’s “Swingin'”). But it kicks off with Phantom Planet’s “California,” which should stand as the ode to Anaheim, where the 2010 MLB All-Star festivities are taking place.