Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Booing At The Home Run Derby

There should not be any boos at the Home Run Derby. Hell, there shouldn't be any boos at the All Star game, but that's a whole other subject that I'm not interesting in tackling right now. Right now I want to get the boos out of the Home Run Derby.

Why not? 

The results of the derby mean nothing. Neither the Royals nor Billy Butler himself would benefit from being in the Home Run Derby, let alone winning the thing. I'm not trying to dog on the fans of Kansas City. Like I said on our Facebook profile... I understand the booing. Cano didn't pick the hometown boy, Robbie's on the Evil Empire, and he's pretty damn good to boot. If they didn't boo Cano then I would have questioned the passion KC fans have for the game. The booing shows they care, and caring is never a bad thing. Especially when it comes to a sport being bashed left and right.

This guy should buy one of those fancy new televisions that get more than one channel, so he can watch something other than baseball.

Back to the topic of why there shouldn't be booing... it's supposed to be a fun event. A spectacle. An exhibition. Fans are supposed to relax for a night, where they don't have to feel anxious about their team's upcoming game, and just watch a few dozen balls get launched over the fence by sluggers like Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista.

I realize that I've contradicted myself a bit here. On the one hand I'm okay with Cano getting booed by KC fans, but on the other hand I don't want to see boos during the Home Run Derby. Look, just because I understand something, doesn't mean I agree with it. I understand why my work can't pay me more money, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with it. I understand why gas prices are so high, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with it.

Just kidding... I have no idea why gas prices are so high. 

One idea I've heard is for MLB to open up voting for the Home Run Derby participants to the fans, just like they do the All Star Game. That makes sense to me, as fans won't be able to direct their anger at a participant. But I don't think that totally solves the problem we saw last night, or like last year when Prince Fielder didn't choose Justin Upton for the derby that took place in Arizona. The fans could still be without a hometown player to really cheer for, and therefore react negatively towards the event. 

The other problem I have with voting is the fact that it becomes a popularity contest. Strange coming from a Yankee fan, isn't it? Well... it's the truth. Derek Jeter is 6th in the American League in fWAR among shortstops (Elvis Andrus is the clear leader with a 2.7, vs. Jeter's 1.2). Out of seven qualified catchers in the AL, the ASG starter... Mike Napoli... is 6th in fWAR (Joe Mauer has a 2.9, vs. Napoli's 0.9). Ian Desmond leads all National League shortstops in wOBA with a .355 mark, but it's Rafael Furcall and his .311 wOBA that will be starting at that position tonight. So you can see where I'm hesitant to leave voting to the fans.

I don't care what uniform he has on... I hate Jonathan Papelbon, and he doesn't deserve to be apart of the All Star Game.

So here's what I think... appoint a player from the host city/team as the captain of their respective league's team. In this year's case, Billy Butler would be the team captain, as he leads the Royals in home runs. If Billy doesn't want to do it, then he can appoint a teammate such as Mike Moustakas, who is 2nd on the team in HR. Or, if Butler couldn't actually participate, then he'd simply pick somebody to take his place with the bat, and just cheer the team on. 

That way, not only can't the fans get upset because a player from their favorite team isn't hitting, but they can't really get upset at the others on the team as their hometown boy chose them. Well, I suppose they can still get upset, but their case is drastically watered down. Besides, people will find a way to be mad, because some just love misery. But this would solve the problem we've seen at the last two Home Run Derbys, in which a player was booed because they didn't choose a hometown boy to be part of the event. 

It's certainly a better idea than trying to boost interest in the All Star Game by making it determine home field advantage in the World Seires.