Another Home Run Derby is in the books, and for the second time in his career, Prince Fielder has been crowned the champion. That is a royal play on words. You don't actually get a crown for winning the Home Run Derby, although you do get a bitchin trophy that you may or may not be allowed to keep.
Here's the final leaderboard:
- Prince Fielder, 28
- Jose Bautista, 20
- Mark Trumbo, 13
- Carlos Beltran, 12
- Carlos Gonzalez, 4
- Andrew McCutchen, 4
- Matt Kemp, 1
- Robinson Cano, 0
What did we learn? I wouldn't say we learned anything, aside from the 2012 MLB Home Run Derby results, but Cano won a year ago, he was predicted by players to repeat, and instead of repeating as champion he got shut out completely. We gained further evidence that it's impossible to predict the Home Run Derby and trying to predict it is a waste of time anyway because honestly who cares? Honestly, who cares? Does anybody watch the Home Run Derby to see who wins? You watch out of desperation and you cling to the hope that you'll be given something, anything memorable, even if that's just the lasting image of a fly-ball-shagger getting bopped on the top of the head.
The memory from this one isn't going to be Prince Fielder or Jose Bautista hitting dingers. It's going to be the way Cano was treated by the Kansas City natives in attendance. Cano was in charge of filling out the rest of the American League team, and at first he said he'd like to pick a Royal. But he wound up with Fielder, Bautista, and Trumbo, claiming that Albert Pujols recommended Trumbo for a slot. Royals fans took offense, they booed Cano when he was introduced, and they cheered every time he made an out, which he did with all ten of his swings.
Cano wasn't wrong to pick the players he did, because they're all prolific home-run hitters. Kansas City fans weren't wrong for voicing their displeasure, because this was their own home field, they're allowed to be biased, and most importantly -- absolutely most importantly -- it was meant in fun. Kansas City fans don't hate Robinson Cano any more than they used to, and nobody would've been truly heartbroken that Billy Butler wasn't asked to participate. Butler didn't deserve to participate. Cano took it all in stride and as the fans were cheering his outs I couldn't stop smiling, but now we're wading through articles like this:
So it was foolish for Royals fans to let any negativity seep into Kauffman Stadium — even if it was directed at a member of the loathed Yankees. A more discerning group of fans would realize the marketing power that accompanies an All-Star Game. Presumably, the Royals will want to compete for top-tier free agents as the team moves closer to legitimate contention. Why risk leaving a bad impression with any of the would-be free agents in attendance?
Brandon McCarthy provides the voice of reason:
@jonmorosi why? Can nobody's feelings ever be hurt? I thought tonight was awesome with the fans booing Cano/ showing Butler support— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) July 10, 2012
A surprising number of people on Twitter were referring to the fans' behavior as classless and uncalled for. Not just people-people, but authority-people, baseball-people. That caught me off guard, because I couldn't imagine how anyone could see that and hear that and not think it was hysterical. But I suspect that people will have short memories, and that the Cano reaction only stirred a response because it was the only thing that possibly could've stirred a response, and people always need to be responding. On a day when nothing's a big deal, something has to be a big deal, because people can't just relax. Just relax. It's the All-Star break.
More All-Star stuff tomorrow. I don't know how I'm ever going to get to fall asleep, because this is like Christmas Eve!