Robinson Cano got caught in a storm of hostile revelry as Kansas City was transformed into a no-heartland for the returning Home Run Derby champion and his beloved father, Jose.
The father-son duo of pitcher and slugger pulled off a thrilling win in the 2011 Derby, culminating with Cano leaping into his father's arms.
That touching moment captured the beauty of baseball. Many men have cherished memories of playing catch with their fathers in the backyard, which made Cano's display of childlike glee with his proud pitching pops all the more relatable.
By contrast, if there was any empathy during the 2012 incarnation of the derby, it was drowned by the chorus of mocking cheers Cano received for every failed attempt to clear the wall.
Royals fans were incensed that the Yankee second baseman, as captain of the American League squad, had not selected hometown favorite Billy Butler to the contest. Butler's 16 home runs have him tied for 16th place this year among American League hitters.
They were especially upset by Cano's perceived duplicity; after claiming he was considering a KC player, and that he would like to see one on the squad, Cano ultimately passed on any hometown representation.
KC fans felt betrayed and lied to.
Fans thus booed Cano heartily during introductions. There was even an aerial assault of invective earlier in the afternoon, as a plane flew above Kauffman Stadium with a trailing sign: "CONGRATS BILLY! YOU BLEW IT CANO — 810 WHB."
It was difficult to watch Jose Cano, who looked flustered in the midst of all the animosity, and who even received an embarrassing visit to the mound from his son's increasingly anxious teammates; they were trying to lighten the mood but they also appeared nervous Robinson might end with a bagel.
And he did, to the widespread delight of Royals' fans.
Cheers against Cano reached their final crescendo when he made his last pitiable attempt at a long ball. At that point the stadium erupted as if all ten of Cano's outs had somehow been converted into wins for their team—an imaginative process that would still only bring the hapless Royals to the .500 mark.
Indeed, KC has not had a whole lot positive to cheer about this year. So, while hosting the league's best and before a national audience, they went negative.
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