The Home Run Derby was filled with deep blasts that reached the water at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City Monday night, but it was also filled with more than a few embarrassing performances.
Prince Fielder won the event for the second time in his career by launching 28 over the three rounds (12 in the finals), outlasting Jose Bautista, who had seven in the finals and 21 total.
They were the success stories.
More than a few players exited the batter’s box with their heads down wondering what just happened. Whether it was swinging too hard or a failure to hit the sweet spot on the bat, there were more than a few forgettable performances.
But who was the worst?
3. (tie) Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (4)
ESPN decided it would be a good idea to interview Josh Hamilton right in the middle of the derby, and it just so happened to be when two players from smaller markets came up. The commentators spent little time discussing the two contestants, and it ended up being the most forgettable part of the whole contest as they both failed to reach Round 2.
CarGo and McCutchen didn’t have laughably bad performances, but they got a raw deal from a publicity standpoint by the worldwide leader.
2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers (1)
Kemp, the captain of the National League squad, was coming off a 2011 performance where he smacked a whopping two home runs.
Fresh off a stint on the DL, Kemp lowered the bar by hitting only one dinger.
He seemed out of sync throughout the duration of his 10 outs, only able to muster one home run with nine outs already recorded. The silver lining for Kemp is that since he hit a gold ball home run, more money went to charity.
The rust clearly showed for a guy who hasn't registered a major league plate appearance since May 30.
At least he didn’t aggravate the injury.
1. Robinson Cano, Yankees (0)
The Kansas City crowd was clearly furious the American League’s captain left Royal Billy Butler off the team, and made sure Cano knew it.
They were booing lustfully from the moment he stepped up to the plate, and it didn’t end until his final out, when a roaring cheer erupted over his poor performance.
The boos clearly rattled Cano, who won the whole thing last year.
It was by far the most awkward segment of the night, and it makes you wonder if Bud Selig and Co. will rethink allowing the players to pick the field.
Cano only added fuel to the fire by putting up a goose egg. This is certainly not how he envisioned his title defense going.