All-Star Game: Salute to Kansas City Royals fans
Kansas City Royals fans stole the show at the All-Star Game. Good for them. They might have done what all fans would like to do but rarely accomplish: effect change.
The Royal fans unmercifully booed the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, who was captain of the AL Home Run Derby team and picked the squad for his league’s competition against the National League. Cano had said he would pick a Royal for the Derby but did not — the AL home run quartet for the Monday night competition at Kauffman Stadium was Cano, Prince Fielder, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo. It’s the second straight year hometown fans were upset — Fielder was the NL captain a year ago and did not pick an Arizona Diamondback for the derby.
The booing caused quite the outrage. Pundits weighed in, saying the booing was low-rent. Players union chief Michael Weiner got involved, saying the booing was over the top. Commissioner Bud Selig expressed regret, saying he felt “very badly” for Cano.
OK, so why was Robinson Cano placed in that situation? Why was a job that is 100 PERCENT MARKETING left to a second baseman? The Home Run Derby is simply good fun at the ballpark. Makes for a decent television on a slow summer Monday night, gives the fans another reason to fill the stadium around the All-Star festivities. Sure, you can’t fill the Derby roster with just local favorites, because you’ve got to attract national television viewers. But one slot reserved for the hometown guy?
I mean, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship offers special exemptions to players who did not quality, and they are fairly prestigious athletic competitions and zero percent exhibition. And the Home Run Derby can’t include Kansas City’s Billy Butler?
Selig now says baseball might consider reserving a spot for a hometown player. I’ve actually been a Selig supporter and tried to stand against the many who claim he’s nothing but a buffoon. But it’s hard to argue my side after this fiasco. Of course a local player should compete in the Home Run Derby. That’s elementary marketing. That’s not even worthy of discussion. You do it and move on to something that requires more thought.
Instead, baseball needed the Kansas City fans to knock some sense into the process. So take a little solace, Royals fans. You showed baseball a little light.
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