Former New York Yankee Nick Swisher has claimed that MLB’s Home Run Derby X could be just the thing that helps bring in a new crowd to baseball.
A study in 2017 showed that of the four major American sports leagues, fans of baseball were by far the oldest, with an average age of 57 (up from 52 in 2006), with the NFL’s standing at 50, NHL at 49 and the NBA at 42.
Whilst Major League Baseball has taken some steps to try and make things more appealing and faster to attract a younger audience back in the states, such as the implementation of a ‘pitch clock’ in 2023 after a success in the minor leagues, they clearly think there’s still a lot that can be done.
That’s where Home Run Derby X comes in, as not only are MLB trying to attract a younger audience, but with the vast majority of players coming from North and Central America, a chance to bring the game to the rest of the world.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with GiveMeSport ahead of Home Run Derby X’s stop in London on 9th July, Swisher, who played 11 years in the Major League most notably with the New York Yankees, the team he’ll be representing in Crystal Palace Park, hopes that something like this will help bring people on board with what can be a rather drawn-out affair.
Photo credit Cake UK
“Sometimes baseball can be a little boring, right? So I think that’s what Home Run Derby X is going to be, I think it’s going to be hopefully that little bit more of excitement that some people want. Being able to do things on both sides of the ball, being able to play defence in a home run derby, I think that’s absolutely amazing.
“Being able to hit targets for our line-drive hitters that we have in here. Being able to bring athletes from all over the world to compete in something like this is absolutely amazing.”
Swisher is certainly no stranger when it comes to trying to bring excitement to the baseball diamond, having developed a reputation in the majors for his jovial and upbeat personality, something that makes him the perfect candidate for a project like this that mixes the world of sports and social media:
And with the personalities on show, MLB certainly are putting their best foot forward, with the likes of freestyle footballer Liv Cooke and Hashtag United’s Spencer Owen joining forces with MLB royalty to help promote the game in London, picking up where the 2019 MLB London Series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox left off.
And with Home Run Derby X an event that promises to bring the perfect mix of sporting action, fan interaction and incredible personalities, Swisher hopes that the event will leave smiles on faces and people wanting to come back for more in the future:
“I think Major League Baseball’s success, as well as our success would be number one, everybody go over there and have the best time possible. Really get a lot of smiles on people’s faces. let them immerse themselves in our game for the time that we’re there.
“So if you’re asking me what I think Major League Baseball’s success would be huge. Just huge feedback, how much fun that people had, how much excitement that everybody had, that’s what I think that we’re all trying to do.”
Swisher was speaking to GiveMeSport as part of a promotion for Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby X.
To find out more, check out mlb.com/HomeRunDerbyX. You can follow the full Home Run Derby X Tour at @mlb and @MLBEurope. MLB will be documenting the progress of the teams, the Wild Card’s training journey, and all the live and behind-the-scenes action from each event. #HomeRunDerbyX @MLBEurope
Tickets can be purchased at https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/mlb-hrdx