What a week this is for Billy Butler. He's having an okay enough season (tied for sixteenth in the American League in homers, nineteenth in batting average, 22nd in OPS), but because he's the lone representative from a weak team that happens to be hosting the All-Star Game, he became one of the focal points of the weekend. And even before he got his huge ovations last night, he was involved in the sort of thing that passes for big news at a Home Run Derby. As you'll recall, Robinson Cano was one of the captains, and thus was tasked with picking his team. But he didn't choose Butler, and so he was booed, loudly, during the Derby.
Cano said he didn't mind the crowd's response to him (though he didn't like that the fans in Kansas City picked on his family, too). We didn't mind either, but this kind of thing never much bothers us. (After all, one of our favorite parts of the NHL's All-Star Fantasy Draft is the way the home crowd responds to players they don't like, and they'll only get more riled up in future years if the captains take our advice and become more mischievous.) If Cano becomes the villain for not picking Butler the same way Prince Fielder was the bad guy last year for failing to select Justin Upton, then so be it.
But Bud Selig, who'd rather these events go off without any sort of hitch that people are still talking about the next day, said yesterday that he felt bad for Cano. Via the AP:
"Robinson Cano certainly picked people he thought should be on there," Selig told the Baseball Writers’ Association of American on Tuesday. "While I understand Kansas City and I understand the whole Billy Butler thing, I really felt very badly last night."
The commissioner also said that the league would consider changing the rules of the Home Run Derby to allow a hometown player to participate. Selig was asked whether he would be concerned about the crowd response next year if a Met isn't chosen to participate in the Derby at Citi Field, and he said he wouldn't be. Said Selig: "It won’t be any worse than it was last night," adding, "You can only boo so loud." In the event that the rules don't change and, say, David Wright isn't chosen for next year's Derby, take note, Mets fans, because "you can only boo so loud" sounds like a challenge to us.