New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is once again captaining the American League team for the Home Run Derby at Citi Field next month. While he has a wealth of power hitters to choose from, one player who won't be on his team is Kansas City Royals DH Billy Butler.
In case you forgot last year's infamous derby, Cano was also captain of the AL team in Kansas City and didn't pick Butler to be on the team. The biased crowd let the Yankees star hear it when he stepped into the box for the event, booing him unmercifully until he sat down.
Things got so bad for Cano in Kansas City that a local radio station actually hired an airplane with a banner to fly over the stadium the afternoon of the derby that read "Congrats Billy! You blew it, Cano—810 WHB."
Now, one year later, Cano told reporters (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com) that there was "no chance" he would take Butler to be part of the AL squad as part of the July 15 event. He did say it with a smile.
Unlike 2012, when Butler had 16 home runs and was among the league leaders in that category at the break, he has only hit five home runs so far this season. Obviously, saying there is no chance, whether joking or not, will rub Kansas City fans the wrong way.
Cano did not have a good time at last year's event, which is a shame because the whole event up to and including the All-Star Game is supposed to be a fun showcase for the best players in baseball and the sport as a whole.
As Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote after last year's derby, what Kansas City fans did was make themselves look foolish and petty for holding a grudge at an event that, in the scheme of things, really doesn't matter.
What do the Royals win if Billy Butler is in the Home Run Derby? Is it just a case of a long-suffering fanbase wanting to be in the spotlight?
I was in Kansas City last year for the Futures Game, when those fans filled Kauffman Stadium to watch a collection of prospects, and I can tell you that the people really made that weekend something special.
Until this one particularly petty moment got the best of them. They even reportedly went after Cano's family in the stadium.
They were yelling stuff to my family. That’s not the right thing. You know, this is a game and we’re All-Stars. I mean, if I get booed, I don’t really care. But I mean, when they start with your family, that’s over the line.
If there was any blame to go around, put it on Major League Baseball. Why are there captains of these teams, and why are they allowed to pick whomever they want? Of course they are going to pick their friends before anyone else. That's how these things work.
But now we can look back on the moment with some humor, aside from the verbal attacks on Cano's family. It is clear that he is doing so.
Plus, with Wright and Cano already on the team, New York won't have to worry about any backlash. Now we can start the whole New York-bias conspiracy theories, since MLB is clearly favoring that city by making the two biggest stars on the Yankees and Mets derby captains.