This guest post comes to us courtesy of Wise Guise friend Patrick Henson from Lexington, Kentucky. Enjoy his take on this year’s MLB All-Star festivities and the constant tension between one of the game’s biggest stars and the host city!
This year marked the Major League Baseball’s 83rd All-Star Game and 27th Homerun Derby, which took place in Kansas City, Missouri, home of the Kansas City Royals. One thing I love about the MLB’s all-star game is that it actually matters. The players actually want to play and the superstars actually show up. Most players want to actually come out on top in the All-Star Game because the winner (National League or American League) gets home-field advantage in the World Series. So the superstars actually show up to play, because their team could be in that World Series, benefitting from an All-Star win.
But my favorite part of the festivities is the Home Run Derby. It’s the only real All-Star event in any sport that actually has the main names in the sport. The NBA’s slam dunk contest is all about trying to get their younger players more attention. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, you had Michael Jordan, Spud Webb, and Larry Bird among others. Now, in the slam dunk contest, you have a staged event where Blake Griffin has a choir brought out to sing to him as he leaps over the hood of the car that sponsored the event.
But with the Home Run Derby, you have the hardest hitters in the league competing year after year. David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, Jose Bautista and the names go on. It’s a great event to watch. All the players are having fun and just enjoying the good time. But the Derby this year had a rough start that had everyone talking.
The Yankees’ Robinson Cano came to the plate. If you don’t know the background, let me explain it to you – when Cano was chosen as the captain of the AL’s Derby team, he said that he would pick a Kansas City Royal to be on the team IF a Kansas City Royal made the AL’s All-Star roster. A Kansas City Royal made the roster, yet Cano did not pick him. Cano said it was because he had to pick his team for the Derby before the finalized roster for the game came out, so he had no way of knowing.
The fans showed their disgust for him at the time by booing him when he was at the plate and cheering when he failed to go yard, which in 0 HR’s hit by the Yankee star. Some accounts have said that the fans yelled at the Cano family, which Cano said “was crossing the line!” I’m somewhat shocked that the fans reacted like this. Cano had a great first part of the season and wants to have a good time at the All-Star break like everyone else. But the All-Star festivities are normally good spirited affairs with no ill will. If they only booed when he first walked up and his first failed attempt at a home run, that wouldn’t be that bad and it would be humorous in fact. But doing it the entire time and yelling at the man’s family really is “crossing the line,” in my opinion. At first, I thought it was funny, being a Red Sox fan and loving to see a Yankee get booed in a Derby. But, after the first time, I just felt bad for the guy. Bud Selig (commissioner of the MLB) is now thinking about changing the rule to where the captain has to choose one hometown player to compete in this event, which would eliminate this problem in future Home Run Derbies.
But after all that drama was out of the way, it ended up going back to the good ol’ Home Run Derby I grew up watching and loving. It ended up being a pretty good one as well. (Spoiler Alert!) Prince Fielder looked like he wasn’t going to win it at all with his first round performance (hitting only 5 home runs). He got the 4th place spot after round one and barely moved on to the next round. He then hit 11 HR’s in the next round, taking him to the finals against Jose Bautista, who had a swing-off with Mark Trumbo to make the finals. Then Fielder hit 12 in the finals, winning the 2012 homerun derby 12-7.
This makes Prince Fielder the only player to win the Home Run Derby in the NL and the AL, as well as being the second player in history to win the event more than once. Ken Griffey Jr. is the other, who won 3 Derbies and had a Home Run Derby video game named after him. It was a great event once again and I can’t wait for the next All-Star break in 2013 at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.