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SBD/July 10, 2012/Events and AttractionsPrint All
Tigers 1B Prince Fielder won last night's State Farm Home Run Derby at Kauffman Stadium, but it was Yankees 2B Robinson Cano's turn at the plate that "turned out to be the most captivating sequence of the entire night," according to Terez Paylor of the K.C. STAR. As captain of the AL Home Run Derby team, Cano last week selected Fielder, Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista and Angels RF Mark Trumbo to complete the team's roster, opting against Royals DH Billy Butler after earlier mentioning his intent to include a Royals player. With each Cano out, last night's crowd of 40,351 "did not just cheer -- they roared." And in between each pitch, the crowd "serenaded Cano with boos and 'Billy Butler' chants, just to remind him of the man he slighted." Paylor notes even Butler, who "appreciated the support, was taken aback by the extent to which Cano was chastised." During batting practice, a plane "carried a banner over the park that read 'Congrats Billy! You Blew It Cano!'" Butler: "I thought that was a little over the top. ... It's good to hear people chanting your name, but I like Robby. So there's nothing going on there." Cano last night became the "first player to go homerless at the derby since" Tigers 3B Brandon Inge in '09 (K.C. STAR, 7/10). Cano said, "I expected that (reaction). I was criticized even before I got here. When you play for the Yankees, everywhere you go you get booed.'' Cano was asked whether he “considered the relentless booing ‘low class.’” He responded by saying, “This is for the fans and that's what they feel like. There's nothing else I can do'' (ESPN.com, 7/9).
NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR YOU: ESPN's John Kruk said of Cano, "You would have to imagine this would bother some (players, but) he plays for the Yankees. Pretty much everywhere he goes they hate him outside of New York. Just goes with the territory of being a New York Yankee.” After Cano went homerless in the Derby and was cheered loudly for each out, ESPN’s Karl Ravech said, “Not what you’d expect in heartland. You didn’t expect a zero from Cano and you certainly didn’t expect the behavior to at least last that long during the round.” ESPN’s Barry Larkin: “It was kind of ugly. That’s not what this whole thing is about. It’s supposed to be positive.” But ESPN’s Terry Francona said the fans “are having fun with it” (“State Farm Home Run Derby,” ESPN, 7/9). In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote, “There is so much nonsense surrounding the epic booing and mind-fornication Kansas City fans gave Robinson Cano.” Mellinger: “When did everyone get so serious about the Home Run Derby?" (KANSASCITY.com, 7/9). SPORTING NEWS’ Anthony Witrado wrote the crowd's "ridicule of Cano was a focal point of this Home Run Derby,” and it “looked and sounded bad.” The Derby’s current format “is flawed, from the way the teams are chosen to the three-round system and the sheer length of the event.” Changing the format would be "in the best interest of MLB, assuming it doesn’t want its stars mercilessly booed” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/9). The N.Y. Post's Bart Hubbuch wrote on his Twitter feed, "The sports world is so slow right now that a Yankee getting booed is a big story. Really?"
THE NEXT WAVE OF STARS: The AP’s Dave Skretta wrote the All-Star Futures Game Sunday afternoon, considered an "afterthought in most other places, became a must-see event.” A sellout crowd of “better than 40,000 on a picturesque night was spurred on in part by three Royals prospects participating in the game” (AP, 7/9). Baseball HOFer George Brett served as one of the managers in the Futures Game and noted there is a "wave of young talent now” in MLB, but added, "Wait until you see the next wave coming in." Brett: "There are some players out there. It’s in great hands.” Brett said he was impressed by the players because they are young “playing in an All-Star Game in a Major League stadium with 40,000 people there." Brett: "This game was sold-out yesterday. You’d have the little poopies in your pants, wouldn’t you? These guys didn’t have it” ("State Farm Home Run Derby," ESPN, 7/9).
The Nationals are "hoping to bring the All-Star Game to Washington soon, and it makes sense for both them and baseball on many, many levels," according to Adam Kilgore of the WASHINGTON POST. They can "show off Nationals Park and, perhaps, new development around the stadium." MLB can "continue to strengthen and showcase a major market still less than a decade old." Also, new parks "almost always get the all-star game." The ASG next year "will be held at Citi Field in New York," and it is something close "to an open secret that Target Field and Minnesota will host" in '14. The thinking "within baseball is that Nationals Park will get the game soon, possibly within five years" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/9). In DC, Rick Snider writes under the header, "District Is Deserving Host." Snider asks, "What will it take for [MLB Commissioner Bud] Selig to fulfill his pledge for the Midsummer Classic to return to Washington after 43 years and counting?" DC is "bidding for the 2015 game along with Miami and Cincinnati, but it could be 2017 -- 10 seasons after Nationals Park opened." Snider: "And they say the federal government moves slowly." The city has "overcome every barrier Selig presented with a public-financed stadium, rejuvenated neighborhood, solid attendance and coming waterfront complex." Yet, the ASG "remains a fantasy contest." Snider writes, "There's something foul about this" (WASHINGTON EXAMINER, 7/10). Selig said yesterday, "Is the game in better shape now? Remarkably so. The only people who are hurt and angry now are those who aren't invited. Cities are fighting for All-Star Games now. Years ago, in the 90's, I had to beg people to take it, and I'm not joking" (USA TODAY, 7/10). Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty writes, "We’ve heard forever that a sure way to land an ASG, and the plum pub that attends it, is to build a new ballpark. Great American Small Park has been open for 10 years. We haven’t sniffed the game. ... There's no excuse now. Not after Tuesday night's locale" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 7/10).
SAFETY DANCE: The AP's Bill Draper noted K.C. officials have "spent several months coordinating with local, state and federal agencies and the U.S. Army to make sure tens of thousands of baseball fans who come to the city will be safe." A delegation of K.C. police officers "traveled to Phoenix last year" for the '11 All-Star Game. The department also "tested its security plan at the city's St. Patrick's Day parade and in an exercise in April at Kauffman Stadium." City police have "worked with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and several other agencies to create its game plan." K.C. Police Major Rich Lockhart said that the Univ. of Foreign Military & Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, "which normally reviews battle plans for the U.S. Army, has examined the security plan and found it to be sound." MLB VP/Security & Facility Management Bill Bordley is "impressed with the security measures that are in place." Unlike last year's game in Phoenix, where most events "were consolidated in a fairly tight geographical area downtown, Kansas City is playing host to activities scattered around town, including in some impoverished neighborhoods where residents say it's best if outsiders are gone by dark." Bordley: "It's not a problem or a challenge that hasn't been dealt with before. The commissioner makes a concerted effort to reach out to all parts of the community and wants to create a family-friendly environment throughout the city" (AP, 7/9).
All England Lawn Tennis Club CEO Richard Lewis has “inherited the Wimbledon 2020 plan to decide where it should go over the next two decades,” according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. Lewis has "enjoyed his first Wimbledon.” He said, "I think everybody agrees it has been an outstanding Championships.” However, in the middle of the second week, there “was a crescendo of complaints over scheduling and the use of the roof.” Lewis “promises more details” about the Wimbledon '20 plan in the coming months. Gibson noted it “appears that will almost certainly involve a new roof over Court One.” Lewis said, "We're considering a roof on No1 court. The roof is fantastic on Centre Court. It solves a whole load of problems. But it creates a whole load of other discussion points.” Meanwhile, Lewis said that “hospitality revenues are holding up well despite the industry having a ‘tough time’ and is intrigued by the possibilities for the new online Live at Wimbledon service, designed to complement the output of its broadcasting partners.” He already has “created waves by suggesting that Wimbledon be moved back a week to allow the players more time to recover after Roland Garros, potentially from 2014.” Lewis said that it "wouldn't make a ‘scrap of difference commercially’ and was proposed for ‘tennis reasons’ rather than to avoid a repeat of Sunday's collision with the British Grand Prix.” Gibson noted the U.S. Open is “unlikely to be happy” if Wimbledon changes dates. But Lewis said, "There will always be some negative reaction from any sort of change. In the end the decision rests with Wimbledon” (GUARDIAN, 7/10).
BUCKING TRADITION? SI.com’s Bryan Armen Graham noted the courts at the AELTC in preparation for the London Games "have already been festooned with atypical mauve coloring, presumably in advance of forthcoming McDonald's and Coca-Cola logos.” This is despite the fact that Wimbledon has been long celebrated as “a bastion of commercial purity -- a kind of anti-U.S. Open, refreshingly devoid of courtside billboards, rotating signs or corporate logos on the playing surface." Graham: “The all-white dress code that's become synonymous with Wimbledon? Gone.” Players will be “permitted to wear colored garb, though restrictions on manufacturer's logos are nearly as stringent.” No insignias “larger than 20 square centimeters are permitted on a player's clothing or equipment before or after a match or at any press conference or tournament ceremony.” The logos cannot “exceed 6 square centimeters on socks and shoes, hats, handbags and wristbands.” Bags carried on to the court “may have one logo that is larger than 10 percent of the surface area of the bag” (SI.com, 7/9).