The 2022 MLB Home Run Derby will be at Dodger Stadium for the first time ever on Monday night, with a stacked field of baseball’s best home run hitters, including the back-to-back champ Pete Alonso, looking to launch baseballs into Chavez Ravine.
As has been the case since 2017, Karl Ravech will be on the call for ESPN’s coverage of the vent, with Eduardo Perez next to him and Buster Olney and Marly Rivera on the field reporting. On ESPN2, there will be a Statcast broadcast, with Jason Benetti, Jessica Mendoza, and Mike Petriello showing all the launch data from the hitters. It’s great that there are multiple options for the Home Run Derby viewing experience, but here I am going to pitch one more addition to their megacast options:
The BackBackBackcast, featuring Chris Berman (h/t Fletcher Keel for the excellent name).
For a quarter century, Berman was the voice of the Derby, but by the end of his full-time career at ESPN it had become popular to be a Boomer hater. His schtick had worn thin on many fans and media types, tired of his bellowing “BACK BACK BACK” calls and punny nicknames, but absence makes the heart grow fonder and after five years without Boom on the mic, I think fans have come to realize how much more fun it was having Berman on the call.
The Derby, in particular, is an event that needs that larger than life personality to help carry it. In the middle of a round, after the initial excitement wears off and we’re not yet to the finals, there can be a lull in energy that requires some forced exuberance, and no one has ever been better at that than Boom. There was something admirable about his efforts to get a “BACK BACK BACK” in for every home run, even as the pace picked up and guys tried to rapid fire their way through the event, and his energy never waned, even during a rough round.
I’m willing to cede that Berman might not be for everyone and not everyone would love him back on the main broadcast, but I think there are enough of us out there that grew up on Boom that the BackBackBackcast could do numbers. Just watch this and tell me you don’t want to hear this again.
If you didn’t crack a big smile when he dropped that “on it’s way to Yuma,” then sure the BackBackBackcast wouldn’t be for you, but there’s enough of us out there who want to hear him say “Acuña hit that one to LAGUÑA” tonight that ESPN should pay whatever it takes to get Boom to fly in to L.A. from Hawaii to give the people what we want, at least one more time.