You’ve probably heard by now that Kansas City fans decided to give New York Yankee superstar Robinson Cano a raucous ovation last night during the Home Run Derby. By raucous ovation, I mean that they booed him like he had just spat slow-cooked KC style barbecue pork all over the field, sacked Matt Cassel, and challenged George Brett to a duel after first slapping him across the face with a batting glove. For some reason, this is generating a ton of discussion among baseball fans, and for the life of me, I don’t get it.
Who cares that Cano got booed in an shamelessly commercial exhibition that has “State Farm” in the title? I don’t just mean that as an affront to the people who feel Cano was treated rudely; he was, and there’s no doubt about that. I just mean that it doesn’t really matter either way, and once it happened, there was really no need to get all huffy about it on either side. Kansas City fans didn’t have any legitimate reason to root against Cano, and Cano backers really don’t need to be getting up in arms about it, either.
Apparently, the problem began when the game’s premier second baseman made some kind of statement that he would get a Royal into the Home Run Derby and then didn’t do any such thing. That’s a pretty understandable decision on his part; no one on the Royals has a slugging percentage of more than .490 (Mike Moustakas) or more homers than 16 (Billy Butler). With apologies to both extremely talented hitters, neither is truly a “home run hitter” as it were. True, you can make that argument for a few other guys in the Derby, namely Andrew McCutchen, but he wouldn’t have been there if Giancarlo Stanton hadn’t just had knee surgery. As for Stanton, well, no one would argue over his qualifications. Well, at least they wouldn’t live to tell about it if they did. Stanton’s huge. My point is, it would be kind of silly to elect an unworthy Royal to the Home Run Derby just because the event took place in Kansas City. It’s supposed to be an exhibition of raw power, after all.
Then again, why would Cano even make such a stupid promise in the first place and then change his mind? Naturally, Kansas City fans feel robbed and betrayed by this development, and that’s understandable. Even millionaire athletes should be held accountable for their words in some form, and if the locals wanted to express their displeasure with the guy for misleading them, that’s not really a huge deal. I wouldn’t have taken it so personally if this had occurred in St. Louis, but that doesn’t mean KC has no right to boo the man.
This really isn’t a very big deal. A superstar player on arguably the most storied franchise in all of baseball got some light-hearted negative attention and the east coast legion of fans gets pissed off about it? Meanwhile, Kansas City is so bitter Cano didn’t pick one of their gap power hitters to, in all likelihood, get eliminated after an unimpressive first round showing? If the All-Star selection is flawed in the sense that even bad teams have to get at least one representative, and most fans agree that it is, then why should Cano insult the team by picking a player simply because he felt obligated to?
Both sides have understandable viewpoints here, and that’s why it’s pretty absurd for something this unworthy of news to generate such widespread response. Who cares?