Today In Poorly Formed Thoughts

Allow me to remind you of something you’re likely to have already forgotten about, even if you managed to watch the entirety of last night’s MLB All-Star Home Run Derby: fans in Kansas City booed American League team captain and New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.

Those in attendance were upset that Cano didn’t select Royals designated hitter Billy Butler to participate in the derby, and rightfully so. As Bill Parker pointed out yesterday, the minimal involvement of the Royals in the Kansas City hosted All-Star Game is sort of like not inviting someone to their own party. If tonight’s All-Star Game is largely meaningless, the previous night’s Home Run Derby, the promise ring to the next evening’s festivities, purports even less. Throwing the hometown fans a bone in the form of Butler’s participation would’ve been the right thing to do.

However, the selection of the American League team in a meaningless exhibition ahead of another meaningless exhibition is neither here nor there. In fact, neither is the Royals fans reaction last night, which also involved them cheering on every time Cano didn’t hit a home run. And as the team captain was the only participant not to hit one out of the park, such ecstatic bits of schadenfreude occurred for a briefly sustained moment in time.

What’s worth noting about this whole affair is the overwhelmingly unnecessary weight that certain members of the media attached to it. The worst offender, in my mind, being FOX Sports reporter Jon Paul Morosi whose piece chastising Kansas City fans was published within an hour of Prince Fielder finally winning the event.

Morosi wrote:

Kansas City fans should not have booed Robinson Cano as relentlessly as they did during Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby.

And then the writer, and sudden moralist, proceeded to supply nothing but fallacies and condescensions as a means of explaining why such behaviour was wrong, going so far as to suggest that Major League Baseball needs to implement a rule protecting players from getting booed during these festivities.

I’m not going to say the behavior of Royals fans was classless. That is too strong a word. However, it was needlessly tart and probably unwise.

Thank you for your restraint, Mr. Morosi. It’s very much appreciated.

Kansas City and the Royals have been wonderful All-Star Game hosts, with their Midwestern charm on full display.

Hear that Midwesterners? You managed to impress the fancy and learned word writer from the Northeast with your hospitality. Aw, shucks. I’m sure you’re all well pleased with yourselves. Now, you can go back tending to your farms and getting your women folk to mend those broken baskets.

It’s Kansas City’s chance to re-establish itself as a vibrant baseball city, a trial run for the October baseball that (we are told) could return as early as 2013.

Yes. By carelessly booing a player, Royals fans have doomed the franchise to further failure and made postseason baseball an unlikely prospect for the foreseeable future.

It was foolish for Royals fans to let any negativity seep into Kauffman Stadium — even if it was directed at a member of the loathed Yankees. A more discerning group of fans would realize the marketing power that accompanies an All-Star Game.

A more discerning group of fans? Perhaps Mr. Morosi has watched too many games from the press box, as I would imagine there to be no other group of baseball fans on the continent who would’ve behaved differently. In fact, I can only imagine other teams fan bases behaving in an even more extreme manner. Seriously, imagine if the reverse had happened in New York.

The Royals will want to compete for top-tier free agents as the team moves closer to legitimate contention. Why risk leaving a bad impression with any of the would-be free agents in attendance?

Royals fans who truly care about the team’s future shouldn’t have done anything that would make one player turn to another and say, “Man, what’s the deal with this?”

I think a good measurement of how impactful the actions of Kansas City fans are on future free agent signings will be the number of people who even remember what happened at the Home Run Derby a week from now, or two weeks from now, or at season’s end. I see absolutely no evidence whatsoever that fans would influence free agent signings to any degree. And even if they did, who’s to say that the impact of last night would be at all negative?

Weren’t the fans exhibiting a form of loyalty in raining down boos upon Cano for not selecting a player from their team? Isn’t that the one thing a baseball player might ask of a fan base?

At least it is according to Billy Butler, who said:

That just gives me more incentive to never want to leave. That right there, it just makes you feel good. It’s good to hear people chanting your name, but I like Robinson, so there’s nothing going on there.

The only negative thing that can actually be drawn from cheering on no home runs is that each dinger brought with it a donation from State Farm Insurance to Youth Service America. Less home runs means less money going from an insurance company to charity. However, this isn’t the issue that Mr. Morosi takes up.

Opportunities for Kansas City to self-market to the larger baseball public — players, league and union executives, media — have been sparse over the past three decades. On Monday, an excessive display took a little luster away from what has been, and still is, a sensational week for the city.

To make such a claim, one must also show: a) how the actions of fans hindered the marketing of the team; and b) the actual impact of failing to impress players, the league, union executives and the media. Neither are accomplished in Mr. Morosi’s article. Instead, the reader is left to feel as though the lack of anything meaningful to write about has pushed the writer to create meaning where none exists.

I think a more accurate portrayal of the impact of Kansas City fans can be found in Robinson Cano’s reaction to the unflattering attention:

It doesn’t bother me at all. This is for the fans and that’s what they wanted to do. Sometimes you decide things to do and sometimes it’s not the right one.

If only everyone’s reaction was as measured as Cano’s.