Sometimes you get lucky …

They changed the rules for the Home Run Derby this year, a move that was … oh, infinity years overdue.

Or maybe it just seemed that way.

Anyway, every hitter was supposed to get five minutes to hit as many home runs as they possibly could, with an extra 60 seconds if they managed to hit one at least 475 feet.

So, potentially six minutes and 30 seconds per man, if the man used his allotted 30-second time-out.

Then the rains came, a bit before noon Monday. I know, because I was walking around when the heavens opened or God started sobbing or whatever that was. I know I was really wet, and I know sirens were going off. That scared some people, especially with the forecasts calling for another round of thunderstorms rolling through at around 9pm.

Well, the storms never arrived. But they’d already changed the rules: only four minutes per man, with an extra 30 seconds allotted if he managed two homers of at least 425 feet. Plus the time-out. So we went from six minutes and 30 seconds to a maximum of five minutes.

And it worked. Shoot, it might have worked even better at three minutes rather than four. But I’ll be shocked if MLB and ESPN go back to five minutes next year, since it’s clear that nothing was lost when that minute was shaved.

No, of course the Derby’s still not perfect. I think if you’re not getting the entire event finished in two hours flat, you’re still doing it wrong. But while your mileage at home might differ, this new Derby seems to me a massive improvement over the old one.

Like I said, sometimes you get lucky.