Today – what was scheduled to be Major League Baseball’s Opening Day – ESPN’s programming team has stepped up to the plate and swung for the fences with an eight-hour Home Run Derby Classics marathon on ESPN2 starting at 6 p.m. ET.
Since 2017, the MLB Home Run Derby, widely considered to be one of the most entertaining sports events of the summer, has been called by veteran ESPN host and play-by-play voice Karl Ravech.
Ravech discussed his favorite moments from the Derbies he’s called.
What do you miss most about baseball and what are you most hopeful for when play resumes?
The simple answer is I miss everything about baseball. The routine, the schedule, the sheer volume of games and great plays and players every day and night. There is a rhythm to this time of year and the familiar sights and sounds of baseball are missing. When play resumes, I am certain the enthusiasm will be off the charts. Whether the fans are in the stands or not, their ability to return to “regularly scheduled programming,” get back a sense of community and pride in your favorite team will resonate as loudly as a Mike Trout home run.
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) March 26, 2020
How did you approach officially calling your first Derby in 2017 and how did that approach evolve through 2018 and 2019?
The storylines dictate the tone of the broadcast. The goal for me is always to be a condiment to the main course. The Derby sells itself, all I can do is try to make it a little better. 2018 was so memorable for the charge that Bryce Harper made in front of the hometown crowd in D.C. His energy and the energy of the crowd was incredible.
What Derby moments stand out to you from the events you’ve called?
Justin Bour in 2017 was the appetizer to Aaron Judge. Bour made everyone think about the biggest kid we all grew up with who only had to touch the ball to see it go over the fence. Effortless, pretty power but he dealt with a manchild in Judge. No one in my experience made hitting home runs look easier than Aaron Judge. And by the way, it isn’t that easy.