Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012 All-Star "Weekend" Musings: Consequences Cause Cano Curdling

I didn't watch much of this year's All-Star Game, and only caught snippets of the Home Run Derby. But the lasting brouhaha (besides the National League's 8-0 drubbing of the American League) has been Robinson Cano's relentless booing during his last-place effort at the Home Run Derby.

Cano is a wimp. But his swipe did help reveal to me deeper ills in the All-Star Weekend and format.

Firstly, witness the booing. Cano, the Yankees the winner of last year's Home Run Derby, was named captain of the American League team for this year's Derby. The choices for his league's teammates on the four-man squad were left to him. One month earlier, Cano said he would choose a Royal to his squad.

Cano didn't. And the hometown crowd let him have it.

In the aftermath of this decision, Cano revealed he couldn't handle the abuse. He claimed that his family was threatened, but more importantly, he claimed that his decision to go back on his word was sound:

Cano picked [Prince] Fielder, now of the Tigers, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo for the AL derby squad at the expense of Butler. They finished 1-2-3 in the competition.

"It was a tough decision," Cano said. "It's easy to understand how fans want to see the kid from their hometown. But the fans need to understand, we're not doing it because we don't like other players. We just want to pick the people we think are going to put on a good show for the fans."

And there lies the problem. Cano is clueless about what All-Star Weekend means. He blew the decision, he went back on his word, and now has buckled under the consequences of the decision.

Weak sauce, Cano.

Don't get me wrong. MLB came screaming to Cano's rescue, saying that they might change the Home Run Derby rules altogether. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan made a half-hearted attempt to chastise the behavior of his hometown.

But the truth is, the whole All-Star weekend is an exhibition. And even though the All-Star Game itself "counts" (only in so far as the outcome awards home-field advantage, which has benefited the winning league in six of the nine times since that custom started), the Home Run meaningless.

The winner of the Home Run Derby gets recognition, sure. But there is no impact on the regular season.

Which makes it ridiculous that Cano didn't keep his word and give the Kansas City hometown fans someone for which to cheer. The outcome doesn't matter. The players DO matter, to these fans (who pay good money to attend a batting practice event). Why not give them a local hero?

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I didn't watch the Home Run Derby short of Matt Kemp's appearance (but once the booing started for Cano, I held on a bit longer). And I cared about Clayton Kershaw's inning of work last night in the All-Star Game.

The rest of the Derby and Game? Without a Dodger out there, or a compelling storyline elsewhere for this event, I didn't give a hoot about watching it. I mean, sure, the home-field advantage will be great for the Dodgers in October, so that's nice. But it wasn't enough to keep me interested in the game itself (especially since watching the flubber on Pablo Sandoval nauseates me).

Because there weren't any players from my beloved team. All I cared about was watching them.

The All-Star Game has a rule which specifies that every team must have an All-Star representative. It's a great rule, a rule for which I've gained a profound appreciation after this year. For the hometown city hosting the All-Star Game, that representative becomes even more important.

For Kansas City in particular hosting the All-Star Game, it's frickin' vital to have a hometown representative. This is a city which hasn't had a winning Royals team since 2003. It hasn't had a playoff appearance, or even a divisional pennant, since it won the World Series in 1985, almost 30 years ago. Throw these guys a bone, please.

Robinson Cano, you blew it, and you deserved the boos. The hometown fans deserve better, and you promised it to them and then went back on your word. Like it or not, you've just played right into the villainous Yankee stereotype. Congratulations.

And nice job in the 2012 Home Run Derby, by the way.


QuadSevens said...

Perfectly stated. I also loved how the crowd cheered when Cano made an out. This happened in the HR Derby and the All-Star game.

I hope Cano gets booed in KC for the rest of his career. He deserves it.

knapS said...

What an asshole.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Wait, who won this year's derby again?