AP Exclusive: HR Derby could decide All-Star Game winner | Radio WGN 720

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NEW YORK (AP) — If Major League Baseball’s next All-Star Game goes deep into the night, a slugger may have a chance to decide it by going deep — in a Home Run Derby.

That’s right, say go, go, goodbye to extra heats in the Midsummer Classic. Instead, bring in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr., Bryce Harper and the big boppers for a winning take off.

Because buried deep in the 182-page memorandum of understanding signed Thursday by MLB and the players’ association is a radical new method for potentially deciding the All-Star Game.

“If the All-Star Game remains tied after nine innings, the game will be decided by a Home Run Derby between the teams, subject to the parties agreeing on details and format,” reads Exhibit 13, titled “ Tentative Agreement – All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.

And get this, fans: As part of the overall agreement, “the parties agree to discuss further details and logistics of a potential mid-game All-Star concert.”

Plus, a new flavor to MLB’s international mix – there will be a regular season game in Paris in 2025.

Dated March 1 and obtained by The Associated Press, the All-Star home derby page was signed by MLB senior counsel Kasey Sanossian and players’ association deputy general counsel Matt Nussbaum. It’s part of the deal that led to the end of MLB’s 99-day lockout and the opening of training camps.

This year’s All-Star Game is scheduled for Dodger Stadium on July 19, awarded to Los Angeles after the scheduled 2020 edition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The All-Star Game has gone 13 more innings since its inception in 1933, the last two 10 innings in 2017 at Miami and 2018 at Washington. Pitcher-short teams have become a problem as managers try to get most of the pitchers in the game in the ninth inning.

The annual Home Run Derby the day before the All-Star Game became one of MLB’s popular events and is not mentioned in the document as changing.

The commissioner was granted the ability to add a 33rd player to each league’s all-star list “in recognition of each player’s professional accomplishments” and could add more than one player “if special circumstances warrant.”

In other sections of the agreement:

The teams have agreed to have regular season games in Mexico City each May from 2023-26, London in June 2023, 2024 and 2026, Paris in June 2025, and San Juan, Puerto Rico in September 2025 and 2026. A season-opening series is scheduled for Asia in 2024 and Tokyo specifically in 2025.

Spring training games are scheduled for Puerto Rico and/or the Dominican Republic in 2024, and the World Baseball Classics in 2023 and 2026. Post-season tours are scheduled for South Korea and Taiwan this year and for Latin America in 2023.

Players would receive $70,000 each for regular season events in Europe and Asia, and $20,000 for Latin America.

MLB has obtained union approval to set the trade deadline from July 28 to August 3, on the condition that it notifies the union by the previous December 1.

The deal brings this year’s amateur draft signing bonuses to $300 million, including a value of $8,842,200 for the first pick.

Players and teams have made permanent the COVID-19 rule change calling for the suspension and continuation of rain-stopped regular-season games under five innings.

Opiates and opioids have been added as drugs of abuse to the Joint Drug Enforcement Program, and mandatory, unannounced urine tests will be performed at random times throughout spring training rather than in conjunction with physical examinations.

Blood tests for human growth hormone will be performed by dried blood drops rather than blood draws, subject to approval by outside experts, although draws are permitted for reasonable cause.

Team doctors are allowed to write short-term prescriptions for painkillers as long as they are registered in the medical records system.

Follow-up testing following a positive test will take place during the 12 months commencing the disciplinary notice rather than sample collection. The parties also agreed to a joint investigation into whether contaminated meat products in the Dominican Republic could cause positive tests for the performance-enhancing substances Boldenone and Nandrolone.

MLB and the players also agreed to a revised “workplace code of conduct” which states, “If you see someone harassing or discriminating against someone, tell that person to stop and report it to your pitch manager, your general manager, the commissioner’s office or the players’ association.

Harassment is defined as “any verbal, physical or visual behavior directed at another individual because of a protected characteristic that (i) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment or ( ii) materially interferes with an individual’s work performance.

A section prohibiting the production, distribution, receipt or possession of child pornography has been added to the Joint Policy on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse.

Teams must be scheduled for seven days off after July 31, including three after August 31.

Restrictions on footwear have been relaxed, provided they conform to authorized trademarks and are not offensive.

The annual winter meeting draft of unprotected players, not held due to the lockout, is considered cancelled.

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