Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri hosted The 2012 Home Run Derby presented by State Farm, which is part of the All-Star Weekend experience. It has a storied past, including 2008 when Josh Hamilton cranked out 13 consecutive deep bombs en route to a first round of 28 HR’s, and not even winning, to Bobby Abreu, just 3 years prior to Hamilton, belting 41 total deep balls to break the previous record by 14 total Home Runs. Yes, 14 TOTAL HOME RUNS. Astonishing. Then there is the man of the Derby, Ken Griffey Jr. Jr, loved the Derby and the Derby shared the same feelings. He won the derby 3 times, being the only player to ever win the event multiple times until Prince Fielder did it last night. Griffey, not only hoisted the trophy 3 times, as the only multiple winner, but jacked more moon shots than any other contestant two years in a row, in 1998 and 1999.
In 2011 Yankees, 2B Robinson Cano won the event, so he was elected captain of the American League team. He chose former Cedar Rapids Kernel, and current Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim, Mark Trumbo (22HR), 2-time, reigning American League Home Run Champ, Jose (Joey Bats) Bautista (League-Leading 27HR) of the Toronto Blue Jays, and Detroit Tigers slugger Prince Fielder (15HR) to represent the American League.
Cano pitted his squad up against Dodgers OF, Matt Kemp (12HR) and his choices of, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who was replaced due to injury by Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 year-old phenom Andrew McCutcheon (18HR), Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals who has revitalized his career in St. Louis (20HR), along with Rockies youngster Carlos Gonzalez (17HR).
The American League made it very clear they were not entering the contest with a messing around attitude, advancing 3 out of 4 of the 8 into the semi-finals, with Joey Bats and Trumbo (hitting #Trumbombs, thanks Twitter) ending up in a swing off to face Fielder in the championship.
This idea of a “swing off” is preposterous. These players are already fatigued and the officials expect them to swing 5 times regardless of outcome of those swings. A tie did not occur last night in the event, but this is setting up a tie and more swings. Hitting HR’s is tiring and that became very clear last night with Cano, not being able to even get one over the wall, after playing the in showcased Sunday night baseball game on the mothership between the Red Sox and Yankees. Cano said after the event that he was “tired.” Ya think? He got in to Kansas City at 4:30am and only got a total of 2 hours of sleep. “Tired” is an understatment.
The loudest boos that you will hear at Kauffman Stadium this year, next year, and in the past 30 years happened last night when Cano came up to bat. THe American League Derby captain reportedly was considering Billy Butler (Royals DH/1B) to be a part of the team. This would have been a nice gesture to put Butler on the squad in front of the home-town Royals fans (wait, what?). Cano left Butler off the team, instead putting Mark Trumbo on the squad and the fans let him have it. They booed when he came up to bat, and they cheered when he made outs. Cano was set up for failure to start the event and ended up hitting ZERO HR’s in the event, but he said he had a great time and the boos were no big deal.
Should Cano have included Butler. Simple Answer: YES!! There is no reason that MLB fans of a particular city should not get to root on a home-town guy in the derby. Cano said, “It’s for the fans.” That seems reasonable enough Robbie, but in that case shouldn’t you put in a guy that will be appealing to the fans?
Seems fair to me.
There is no reason why the home-team should have a contestant. I propose that each year, the home-team gets one of the captains. This year it would be Billy Butler. Every single team has at least one guy that can mash. “No way Tyler, you are being ridiculous!” Okay, fair enough. Let’s go through it.Yankees: No Brainer, Cano, A-Rod, Tex, Swisher
Red Sox: A-Gon, Big Papi
Orioles: Adam Jones
Rays: Carlos Pena, Longoria
Blue Jays: Joey Bats
White Sox: Dunn, Konerko
Tigers: Miggy, Prince
Twins: Morneau, Willingham
Angels: Trumbo, Pujols
Nationals: La Roche, Desmond
Braves: Freeman, Heyward
Mets: Wright, Davis
Phillies: Howard, Pence
Cardinals: Beltran, Holliday
Reds: Votto, Bruce
Cubs: LaHair, Soriano
Diamondbacks: J. Upton
Giants: Sandoval, Posey
As you can see, very clearly, there is no reason why the host team can’t just have a captain. Every one of those players mentioned above has at least 10 HR’s (many having 15+). The only real exceptions for teams without great power bats are the Padres and the Indians, but do we really think that the All-Star festivities are going to be taking place at Petco Park in the near future? If they needed to host it at Progressive Field, I’m sure Grady Sizemore could make an appearance for the Indians if needed.
Hey, at least it’s nice to see the fans getting into it, right?
Actual Derby stuff aside, the best part of the whole night was when Nomar, Berman, and Kruk interviewed George Brett. Between Brett talking about how the futures game players (which he coached) didn’t have “little poopies” in their pants from nerves, and John Kruk stuffing his face with BBQ Ribs for the majority of the interview, television gold was accomplished.
Berman said the word “back” 78 times according to Deadspin
It was great to see Prince Fielder win the Derby, because no matter what anybody says, that is what Prince is in the Bigs to do. Hitting Home Runs is an art and he paints with a very fine brush. There’s a visual for you, Prince Fielder painting a canvas with a small paint brush.