New rules still allow for old home run derby feel -
Published Monday, July 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm / Updated at 7:08 pm
New rules still allow for old home run derby feel
• When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
• Where: TD Ameritrade Park
• Tickets: $8 for children, $12 for adults, $35 for a Family Four-Pack

If the College Home Run Derby seems a little different this year, that's because it is.

The event, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, has been given a bit of a facelift, partially to deal with the challenges many hitters face at TD Ameritrade Park.

The ballpark has been notoriously unforgiving to power hitters over its first two seasons, often turning big flies into big outs. The fence's dimensions as well as the area's wind patterns have been especially cruel to right-handed hitters.

To counteract these challenges and allow some of college baseball's biggest boppers to thrive, two new rules have been instituted. First, all balls that land on the warning track or hit the fence will not be counted as outs. And after a hitter's 10 outs have been completed, he will be thrown one additional “bonus ball,” which counts as two homers if it leaves the yard.

Drew Russell, vice president of sponsorship and events at Intersport, one of the co-sponsors of the event, says the changes weren't made solely to boost the total home run count. They also wanted to take a tired formula and give it a little spice.

“We kind of want to reinvent the home run derby a little bit,” Russell said. “It's been done this way in many different leagues. We thought this would be fun and would add a little excitement to it.”

For a while leading up to the event, the “home run derby” concept itself was in jeopardy. With the unfavorable dimensions, some wondered if it would be better to hold an entirely new event, based off a player's ability to hit balls to different spots. After careful consideration, though, the decision was made:

Chicks, and almost everybody else, dig the long ball.

“We talked about everything from targets in the outfield to different zones where you could acquire points, but we didn't want this to become a line drive competition or a singles competition,” Russell said.

“It's truly a home run derby, so we felt like these rules kept the essence of the event intact, but would give these guys a better shot and more opportunities to hit home runs.”

College of Charleston's Daniel Aldrich, the event's defending champ, didn't have any trouble reaching the seats last year without the new rules. After bombing 12 balls over the right-field wall in 2011, he'll be looking to find a similar result this time around.

Seven other competitors, all with impressive résumés, will be looking to unseat the reigning king. They are:

Click here to get tickets to the 2012 College Home Run Derby and World-Herald fireworks show.

• LB Dantzler, a junior from South Carolina who finished the season with 10 home runs and 48 RBIs. His home run in the College World Series against Kent State was one of the longest blasts of the tournament, reaching the seats behind the right-field bullpen.

• Tyler Horan, a redshirt sophomore from Virginia Tech who finished the season with 15 home runs, ranking third in the ACC.

• Daniel Palka, a sophomore standout from Georgia Tech who hit 12 home runs and was named second-team All-ACC.

• Derek Fisher, a freshman from Virginia who was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team.

• Zach Stephens, a Tennessee Tech sophomore who tied for sixth nationally in home runs (18) and was named second-team All-Ohio Valley Conference.

• Mason Katz, an LSU junior who finished the year with 13 homers, 52 RBIs and a slugging percentage over .550.

• Aaron Judge, a Fresno State sophomore who finished the year with a batting average over .300 while playing in all 58 games.

The event will be followed by the annual Omaha World-Herald fireworks show. Tickets are $8 for children, $12 for adults and $35 for a Family Four-Pack.

Contact the writer:


Read more related stories
Friday, June 14
Opening Celebration

Saturday, June 15
Game 1: Mississippi State 5, Oregon State 4
Game 2: Indiana 2, Louisville 0

Sunday, June 16
Game 3: N.C. State 8, North Carolina 1
Game 4: UCLA 2, Louisiana State 1

Monday, June 17
Game 5: Oregon State 11, Louisville 4
Game 6: Mississippi State 5, Indiana 4

Tuesday, June 18
Game 7: North Carolina 4, LSU 2
Game 8: UCLA 2, N.C. State 1

Wednesday, June 19
Game 9: Oregon State 1, Indiana 0

Thursday, June 20
Game 10: North Carolina 7, N.C. State 0

Friday, June 21
Game 11: Mississippi State 4, Oregon State 1
Game 12: UCLA 4, North Carolina 1

Championship Series

Monday, June 24
Finals Game 1: UCLA 3, Mississippi State 1

Tuesday, June 25
Finals Game 2: UCLA 8, Mississippi State 0
Restaurants invite customers to dine with their dogs
League-leader DePaul sweeps Bluejays
Bruins sweep Central Christian
Beef set to host Wichita Wild
Nebraskan hopes foot injury won’t stop him from making a run
Dressed to the nines
McCook’s Heritage Hills gets ‘new, refreshed look’
UNO hoops adds forward Daniel Meyer; Krych transfers
State Department moves to delay Keystone XL pipeline decision
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
Ex-PTO treasurer in Iowa pleads guilty to felony theft
Spring practices going well for Eagles
Hoops coach Donnie Johnson out at Benson
Game of the Week: Metro Conference baseball tournament
Maha Music Festival announces lineup; might be its best yet
Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita
New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week
Nebraska AIDS Project seeking designers for Condom Fashion Show
March unemployment rates up slightly in Nebraska, Iowa
Man pleads not guilty in death of former roommate whose remains were found buried in basement
Iowa officials announce plan for Microsoft data center
What's going on this weekend?
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »