Selig Changes Tune, Says MLB May Alter HR Derby After K.C. Fans' Reaction To Cano
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said yesterday that he "might look into making changes" to the Home Run Derby, although he "wouldn't specify what they would be," according to Jorge Ortiz of USA TODAY. During Monday's Derby, the crowd at Kauffman Stadium chanted Royals DH Billy Butler's name before Yankees 2B Robinson Cano came up to hit and booed him "mercilessly as he failed to hit a ball over the fence." Cano did not pick Butler, the Royals' "lone representative in the All-Star Game," for his Derby team, despite previously indicating that he would include a Royal on the AL squad. Selig said of reaction to Cano, "I felt badly. ... I understand hometown loyalties and I'm sympathetic to that, but this was tough." Selig added that Cano was "doing his job as team captain." MLB "likes having captains because they're effective recruiters of Derby contestants." But the job "comes with pitfalls, which might have affected" Cano's performance (USA TODAY, 7/11). After flatly saying Monday morning he did not foresee a change in the selection process for derby participants, Selig yesterday altered his stance, saying the league would discuss a potential provision mandating a player from the host city club compete in the Derby. MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner concurred regarding the reaction toward Cano, calling it "unfortunate." Weiner: "It struck me that it moved a little past traditional, good-natured booing, particularly for an event like that, and got into another area." However, Selig said it will not be catastrophic if a Met is not involved in next year's Derby at Citi Field. Selig: "It won't be any worse than it was [Monday] night. You can only boo so loud" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
CROSSING THE LINE? Cano said that some family members "were harassed in the Kauffman Stadium concourse on Monday night." He said, "I knew coming in I'm going to get booed. The only thing that I would say I didn't like was the way they treated my family when they went to the restroom. ... If I get booed, I don't really care, but stuff with your family, that's over the line." Cano's father, Jose, said that there was "extra security around the family Tuesday night" (NEWSDAY, 7/11). YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote under the header, "Booing Robinson Cano Was Kansas City's Privilege, But Then The City Lost It." Passan: "The idea that the booing represented some sort of stand by the fans against Kansas City's insignificance is wildly wrongheaded. It was mean for meanness' sake, hostile for hostility's sake, an acid-rain shower on a Yankee who they believed did them dirty" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/10). ESPN’s J.A. Adande said the booing was "harsh and unnecessary." Adande: "Don’t take the fun out of the event. Robinson Cano looked like he didn’t even want to be there anymore. It was no fun when everyone is booing you in a Home Run contest” (“PTI,” ESPN, 7/10). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "I thought that was over the top. I thought that was a little bit too much for the guy. I think at some point, you have to just kind of let it go. You made your point and at some point not become just a fan of your team, but a fan of the game." However, Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, "There was nothing wrong with it. It was the best part of the Derby.” Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said, "These fans haven’t had a postseason game in 27 years; they don’t have one on the horizon. This is their big two nights. I don’t blame them at all.” SB Nation’s Bomani Jones: “If you’re going to spend all of that money to sit outside in the heat and watch batting practice, you pretty much get to do whatever you want" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/10).