I had the pleasure of witnessing the 2012 HR Derby in Kansas City last night and I have to say that the Robinson Cano exhibition was quite an experience. For those who don't know the background of the situation or have been living under a rock Cano made a humongous gaffe when he stated that he would include a Kansas City Royal in the HR Derby and then chose not to do so. He should have never stated that he would include a Royal in the first place, and once he did he darn sure should have followed through with it.
Again for those who have been living under a rock Kansas City has not hosted an All Star Game in 40 years and since the early 90's it has stuggled to field a competitive baseball team. That doesn't mean that Kansas City doesn't love the Royals or that the city doesn't have a tremendous love for baseball and its history in Kansas City. The truth is quite the contrary. Kansas City is a fantasticly loyal sports town and it has a deep love for its athletes. Billy Butler is a Royal through and through. He came up through the farm system and is a career .296 hitter with 90 career home runs (more than Trumbo, McCutchen, Gonzalez) and he is having his best HR season as a pro with 16 (more than Prince Fielder and Matt Kemp) in the first half in 2012. He is a no brainer choice for inclusion in the HR Derby especially when the person choosing the team says he is going to include the hometown player.
So about last night. I was in line for food when the teams were introduced. I was pleased to hear the loud applause when Carlos Beltran was introduced. Rock dwellers, Beltran came up with the Royals and played 6 1/2 season in Kansas City. He will always be a Royal and the crowd recognized that. Other players were politely applauded. Cano was loudly booed. I chuckled.
The event began. Beltran had a solid round. Bautista had a great first round. Trumbo and Fielder hit a few real bombs. Gonzalez, McCutchen and Kemp were all together unimpressive. As soon as Kemp made his final out the crescendo began. BILLY BUTLER clap-clap-clap,clap, clap and repeat. Pretty loud and relatively in unison. Impressive. Then Cano stepped up to the plate and boos reigned down mightily. Then the first out, a foul ball back to the screen, RAUCOUS APPLAUSE and ROAR. Then BOOS. Then another out, ROAR, then BOOS. Out after out the exchange between BOOS and ROARS mixed up with the BILLY BUTLER cheer. It was absolutely a blast and it was absolutely justified.
Long live justified schadenfreude.