Boo Cano! If it’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right

Joe Posnanski nails it:

Monday night, you probably heard, Robinson Cano was booed unmercifully by Kansas City fans during the Home Run Derby, and he probably had the worst Home Run Derby round ever. The defending Derby champion did not hit a home run. But perhaps more telling, he fouled three pitches back. Repeat: He fouled back THREE PITCHES THROWN AT BATTING PRACTICE SPEED BY HIS FATHER. […]

Cano had basically said BEFORE choosing the team that it would be the right thing to pick a Kansas City player. He knew it. And for Kansas City fans — let’s face it — this meant something. This might be the only chance for the Royals to EVER GET someone in the Derby. They have not had one since Danny Tartabull in 1991. Heck the team home run record is still 36. Repeat: No Royals player has ever come close to hitting 40 homers in a season. And the All-Star Game comes here every 39 years.

Anyway, we’re talking about the bleepin’ Home Run Derby, not selecting who will be should be Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II. It’s all stupid fun. You wouldn’t exactly be marring the legacy of the thing by picking Billy Butler. Hee Seop-Choi was in a Derby. HEE-SEOP CHOI! Henry Rodriguez, Damion Easley, B.J. Surhoff (average 12 home runs per 600 plate appearances over his career), Alex Rios and, did I mention, HEE SEOP-CHOI were all in Home Run Derbies.

I hear people talking now about how there should be a “rule” that a local player should be in the Home Run Derby. That’s seems impossibly dumb to me — we need a RULE for something that logical? Rule: You should invite the bride’s parents to the wedding. Rule: When hosting a charity roast, invite people who know the subject. Isn’t it kind of obvious that you might want a local player in something as aimless and trivial as the Home Run Derby? It’s a meaningless exhibition event inside a meaningless exhibition weekend — throw the local fans a bone, for crying out loud. […]

Some found the booing offensive. Some thought it was classless. More than one person ripped KC to me, and later in print and comment. I have to admit, I didn’t see it that way. At all. For one thing, Robbie Cano is a Yankee, and the day it becomes uncool to boo the Yankees is the day we need to reevaluate what the national pastime is all about. For another, it’s just booing. I’m not a booer myself, and I usually dislike the “fans paid their ticket they can do what they want” argument, but in this case — you’re telling me that fans who pay 200 bucks a pop to sit in the upper deck to watch executive batting practice should CHEER the guy who didn’t take the local player? Seriously? This is Wimbledon now?

I have no doubt that Cano’s struggles — the fouling back pitches, the way his long fly balls hit the wall — made the fans boo him more. If there’s one thing fans love more than anything it is their ability to affect the game. You’ve no doubt seen the self-congratulatory joy of people waving behind the backboard when a guy misses a free throw. I suspect the fans came in planning to boo Cano, but then they saw him foul that ball back. They thought: HEY, THIS IS WORKING. So they booed him a little louder. And a little louder. And a little louder. Until, at the end, the whole stadium wanted desperately for Cano to hit zero home runs, and the boos expressed that hope.

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