By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
For the first time since Game 7 of the 1985 World Series, Kauffman Stadium was pretty loud.
Royals fans were certainly a presence Monday night for the 2012 All-Star Home Run Derby.
However, it wasn't loud because of the long bombs Prince Fielder hit all night long. It wasn't loud because of all the home runs that plopped into the fountains at The K.
It was loud because New York Yankees slugger Robinson Cano dared to select Prince Fielder, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo over home town player Billy Butler to represent the American League in the Home Run Derby.
Each time Cano was shown on the ESPN camera, he was booed. During his time at-bat, all of his outs were cheered and he was booed during the pitch.
Look, I get why Kansas City fans - especially older fans who actually were around when the Kansas City Royals mattered - would boo a Yankee during a regular game. The Yankees were once the Royals' biggest rivalry.
During an exhibition, circus-type of event held in what was one of the few times Kansas City had the national spotlight to itself?
Some facts to consider before Royals fans who are reading this decide to boo me:
- In five of the last six derbys entering tonight, there was no hometown representative. This was not just the Royals and the City of Kansas City getting screwed. Billy Butler, or any other Royal, was not the exception. The one hometown guy who participated was Albert Pujols when St. Louis held the All-Star game.
- Cano's three picks were worthy picks. Bautista is the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to lead the league in home-runs three straight years at the All-Star break. Fielder is a former champion and Trumbo is one of the great young stars in baseball. Those three players, along with former Kansas City Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran, were the four to advance out of the first round. Fielder put on a very impressive show, as did Trumbo. Isn't a great show what the All-Star Game is supposed to be about? Would Butler have put on as good of a show? We will never know, but the fact is Butler is more of a doubles-hitter. Cano's three picks were home-run selections.
- Butler is not exactly Mickey Mantle when it comes to hitting home-runs. Butler has hit 90 career homers in 775 games. He averages 19 ding-dongs a year and has never hit more than 21 home-runs in a season. Again, in something advertised as the "home run derby," you go with the traditional power-hitters.
- Most fans are generally interested in out-of-town stars, too. Having family members and friends who are Kansas City Chiefs season ticket holders, I know one of the most things they're excited about is who's coming to Arrowhead each year. I remember how excited my friend was when Green Bay appeared on the "home" side of the Chiefs schedule. Seeing Brett Favre come to Arrowhead was rare. It was the last stadium that he conquered in terms of being one of the few quarterbacks who have won games at every single NFL stadium. Want to see Butler? Buy an $8 ticket to a Sunday afternoon game.
The only thing worse were the cheerleaders in the sports radio circuit who believe Royals fans did the most courageous thing ever and provided the All-Star game one of its greatest moments in the history of the sport.
For years and years, we in Kansas City have sat on our hands while the franchise has had one winning season since 1995. This team has not made the playoffs since 1985.
Yet, the 2012 Home Run Derby is the angriest Royals fans have been about baseball?
Save the boos for David Glass and Dayton Moore for not turning around franchise quick enough.
Enjoy the All-Star Game for what it is - a week of exhibition events featuring the best major and minor league talent in the world.