I just did an interview on WGEM out of the Hannibal/Quincy area and I was expecting to talk more about Prince Fielder’s night during the Home Run Derby or offer my insights into Carlos Beltran’s debut, but the hosts started on the topic of the fans at Kauffman Stadium booing Robinson Cano each time he stepped up to the plate. The hosts seemed more interested in that story line than anything else. I can only express my opinion on what I witnessed at the park last night. So, for the many people who felt the fans didn’t show a lot of class. I say, chill out.
First, to fill you in on the Derby, Cano was the AL captain, so he had the right to select and invite the three other AL reps to take part. Billy Butler, obviously the hometown favorite, was not invited. That’s the way it goes sometimes. It wasn’t done out of spite or because Cano doesn’t like Butler. He picked his players, that’s his choice.
However, Royals fans wanted to see their hitting star and they made sure they let Cano hear about it. So, each time Cano was introduced to the crowd at Kauffman Stadium, they booed. There were no profanities shouted, nothing was thrown out on the field, and there were no signs of hatred towards Cano. That would have been classless. There was just good old fashioned booing. With each miss during Cano’s first round, the crowd cheered louder and when the defending HR Derby champ stepped back into the box, the boos got bigger.
Then the in-stadium screen flashed Billy Butler high above centerfield. The crowd went crazy and Billy looked at the camera, smiled, laughed and waved his hand. That happened a couple of times. It was the loudest the stadium got all night. It was fun to watch.
When the Royals were a powerhouse in the late 70’s and early 80’s their biggest rival was the Yankees. The great playoff matchups. Billy Martin questioning George Brett’s pine tar. Now this! A Yankee keeping a Royals hitter out of the Derby in his home park! Royals fans wanted redemption for their guy and they got it last night.
Cano laid a goose egg and the Royals faithful let him have it. But, Cano took it all in stride. He knew it would be coming, he even said so during the HR Derby press conference earlier in the day. Each time he was introduced and crowd jeered Cano smiled and laughed it off. He even smiled as the number of outs started creeping closer to ten and no balls were flying over the wall.
Back in St. Louis for the 2009 All-Star game, the fans cheered for every All-Star player that drove in the parade, walked the red carpet into Busch Stadium, and tipped their caps during introductions on the field. EVERY All-Star player…but one. Ted Lilly of the Chicago Cubs. He was booed no matter where he went.
In pro sports, there is a good guy and there is a bad guy. Last night the bad guy happened to be Cano and you know what? He’s not such a bad guy after all…and neither were the Kansas City fans. It was all in good fun.
So to those of you who can no longer handle fans expressing their emotions. I say, BOOOOOO to you!!!