Billy Butler should send Robinson Cano a big thank you card. Most of the casual and not-so-casual baseball watching public had absolutely no idea who he was. Then Cano “snubbed” Bulter by not selecting the Kansas City Royal’s DH for the Home Run Derby. Suddenly he was a household name.
The KC fans showed true Midwestern hospitality for this unforgivable slight by lustily booing Cano during his Home Run Derby at bats. Robbie, last year’s derby winner, fueled their jeering by not getting a single home run. I’m sure the powder-blue-clad faithful would like to think they got into his head. Playing for the Yankees, Cano has only experienced pure adulation. I mean everyone in Boston always gives him a warm welcome when he comes to Fenway.
While Cano was being booed, Butler, who looks more like Billy from Accounting than Billy Bats, smiled and laughed. His hometown fans showing their total devotion through deafening boos. In fairness, Bulter should have been basking in his new found fame. I mean when will there ever again be 40,000 plus fans in Kauffman Stadium (I could end the sentence here) chanting his name?
Butler’s fame grew even greater when on the afternoon of the All-Star Game, the benevolent Big Papi turned into Big Suck Up and proclaimed he’d only take one at bat as DH and instead let the hometown hero play the rest of the time. Ortiz, however, had two at bats before Billy The Basher entered the game in the seventh to wild cheers ready to make a dent in the American League’s 8-0 deficit. Sadly, Butler promptly grounded out. Then in the bottom of the ninth with a man on third and one out, Butler had another shot to create a KC moment to rival even anything the great George Brett accomplished. Alas, it was not to be. The mighty Butler struck out.
No matter. Robinson Cano has given Royals fans a raison d’être. They now have a true villain to taunt once a year when the Yankees come to town and Kauffman looks a little less like a dust bowl and a bit more like a ballpark. They can boo the man who had the audacity to slight their great slugger. And for that Cano also deserves a thank you.
As for Butler, five years from now when Cano is in town to play and Butler is in town for the opening of a local dealership, he can properly thank the Yankees second baseman over some Kansas City BBQ. They can reminisce about an All-Star Game lost, but a rivalry renewed.