The relentless booing of the Yankees’ Robinson Cano by Kansas City fans during the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night drew national attention, and in some places scorn.
Fans were upset after the captain of the American League squad said he would choose a hometown player for his four-man team, but instead bypassed Royals star Billy Butler and went with Prince Fielder of the Tigers, Mark Trumbo of the Angels and Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
Cano brushed off the cold reception, but others weren’t so kind to Kansas City. Several national TV broadcasters, radio hosts and columnists called the fans everything from “jerks” to “classless.”
“Robinson Cano certainly picked people he thought should be on there,” commissioner Bud Selig told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. “While I understand Kansas City and I understand the whole Billy Butler thing, I really felt very badly last night.”
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The booing didn’t stop on Tuesday night, either. While fans cheered every other player during pregame introductions — including fellow Yankees Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson — they jeered Cano when he trotted out from the home dugout.
“I’m sure it happens in every ballpark, where there’s the hometown guy didn’t make it, and in Robbie’s defense, it’s hard to pick three guys,” White Sox slugger Adam Dunn said. “It would be hard, man, and it’s kind of a tough spot to be put in.”
National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa’s longtime right-hand man doesn’t think he’ll return to the game.
Dave Duncan, La Russa’s pitching coach for more than 30 years with the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals, is on an open-ended leave of absence to be with his ailing wife and is living in southwest Missouri. He hasn’t officially retired but said he didn’t anticipate coaching again.
Janine Duncan’s condition has stabilized after she underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor last summer.
Derek Lilliquist was promoted from bullpen coach to pitching coach in January.
Duncan tutored several Cy Young Award winners, including LaMarr Hoyt, Dennis Eckersley and Chris Carpenter. With the Cardinals, he was credited with helping to resurrect the careers of Woody Williams, Jeff Suppan and Kyle Lohse.
It was La Russa’s decision to start the Giants’ Matt Cain over R.A. Dickey, the Mets’ 12-game winner. He and Duncan collaborated on the best spot to use Dickey, given that his catchers had little experience with a knuckleball pitcher.
Duncan said the plan called for Dickey to pitch the fifth inning, which he did, and not to be the second pitcher used.
“He will not come in second because that isn’t where it makes sense to use him,” La Russa said. “When you see how he’s used, you’ll understand.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The National League extended the American League’s scoreless streak to 14 innings — its longest drought since 1995-97. … The NL won for the sixth time in a quarter-century. … The NL had last won three straight in 1994-96. … It was the first All-Star shutout since the NL’s 6-0 win in 1996.