Jobu’s take on Bud Selig’s latest bout with his own old fuddy-duddyness.
Bud Selig made a statement today that he’s considering making a rule that would automatically place a player from the team hosting the All-Star Game on their respective league’s Home Run Derby team. Last time I checked, major league baseball players were grown-ass men (except maybe Bryce Harper and Mike Trumbo, who are barely removed from high school) and not five year old Kindergarteners. Is Bud serious? Let’s examine the events that led to this ridiculous attempt to coddle grown men.
For those of you who don’t know why this is a story, you must not have watched the Home Run Derby this year. The way the derby works is this: The previous year’s derby winner gets to pick the players he feels will best represent their league and win the whole thing. The captains can pretty much pick anyone they want (although I think the pool is limited to those players who make the All-Star teams).
This season, the derby, like the rest of the all-star game attractions, were held in Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Royals. It had been reported that Robinson Canó, who won the derby in Arizona last year and earned the right to pick the team in 2012, had stated that he was considering putting home town hero Billy Butler on his derby squad. When push came to shove, Canó did not choose Butler, which simultaneously bunched every set of panties in Kansas City.
Canó was booed mercilessly throughout his derby turn at bat. The fans cheered madly whenever Canó made an out, and nearly went ballistic when the Yankees slugger ended up with zero home runs for the round and was eliminated from the competition. It was hard to tell if Robbie just had a bad round, or if the crowd’s jeers actually got him off his game, but whatever the cause, he stunk up the joint and the fans loved every minute of it.
I’m not going to chastise the KC fans for their actions (although reports that some idiots were yelling things at Canó’s family during his at bat are a bit shameful), but what did they expect him to do? Butler is a great hitter, but known mostly for his doubles hitting ability and not his home run power. He did have 16 home runs heading into the break, which is on pace to shatter his career high of 23 dingers, but let’s look at who Canó did choose for his team.
First was Prince Fielder. Fielder only had 15 round-trippers at the break, but he is a prolific home run hitter and a former Home Run Derby champion himself. Canó’s second choice was José Bautista, who had 27 home runs going into the break and has more home runs than anyone in baseball since 2010, with 124. The last guy Canó valued more than Billy Butler was Mark Trumbo. Despite this only being his second season in the bigs, Trumbo has already hit 22 home runs and had the highest average distance per home run of anyone in baseball in the first half, with 419.5 feet per dong.
I ask you, who shouldn’t have been on the team? The only guy who you could say maybe didn’t deserve it was Canó himself, and that’s only with the 20/20 hindsight we can now use after he got shut out in round one. Coming into the break, Canó was the defending derby champion and had 20 home runs (his career high at the break). If it wasn’t already clear that Canó made the right choices when putting together his derby squad, please note that Fielder, Bautista and Trumbo finished 1-2-3 in the competition. Just to show that butler’s omission wasn’t at all ridiculous, here’s a few other guys that got left off the squad: Adam Dunn (25 HR), Edwin Encarnación (23 HR, not an all-star), Curtis Granderson (23 HR), David Ortiz (22 HR), Adam Jones (20 HR) and Josh Reddick (20 HR, not an all-star). Let’s all stop crying over Butler, please.
All of that being said, the controversy should end with the jeers and boos that Canó heard during his at bats in the actual All-Star game on Tuesday night, and will probably hear every time he bats in Kansas City for the rest of his life. I thought the whole situation was pretty great. It really got the fans into the competition, and made for a very good television moment. I bet everyone out there who hates the Yankees probably had a blast watching the entire debacle. It was one of those “did you see that?” water cooler moments that sports thrive on. It will also probably add to the Royals/Yankees feud that began in the 70s, but has petered out because the Royals have been awful over the last twenty years or so. Royals fans will at least get to boo Canó whenever the Yankees come to town and pound them for three or four games. It’s something for everyone to look forward to.
Does anyone really want Bud Selig and the league offices to get involved in this? It’s not fair to the players to get booed? As Canó said after his early exit, he plays for the Yankees. He’s used to getting booed, and booed lustily. Do you think he went home and cried because people cheered his epic failure? I’m sure he wanted to win the derby, but come on people. He’s not a baby. What’s next Bud? Are we going to eliminate scorekeeping like they do in tee ball so that no one feels sad after a game?
Baseball is 70% failure for hitters. If they can’t handle being booed and not doing well in an exhibition home run competition, then they’re probably not All-Star material anyway. Relax Bud, they’re big boys. They can take a little booing. Don’t ignore what was actually a very cool moment for Kansas City and the league as a whole, just because you’re an old turd. Also, how is that fair to the derby participants or the fans? One captain will get to pick all three members of his team while the host league’s captain will only be able to pick two of his three guys. That hardly seems fair at all, right? Also, what if someone like the Indians or Athletics host the All-star game? Do those teams even have anyone who can hit the ball over the fence? How crappy is it going to be to see Jonny Gomes involved in something that is supposed to honor all-stars (sorry Jonny, we love you)?
Hey Bud, why don’t you go focus on getting HGH testing in place by 2013, and fixing things that are actually wrong with the all-star game (like the fact that the winning league in an exhibition game has home field advantage in the world championship of the sport).
Canó’s Derby Failures:
Featured image courtesy of: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer