Published November 20, 2014
Is there a bigger non-story than the Kansas City fans booing New York second baseman Robinson Cano at Monday's Home Run Derby?
Following some national baseball writers' timelines on Twitter, you'd have thought the Royals fans committed some national crime. I'm sorry, are Yankees not allowed to be booed anymore. Does their $200 million-plus payroll protect them from jeers?
Cano is a member of the Yankees. I'm pretty sure he gets booed in just about every opposing stadium he plays in. Is it as vociferous as it was on Monday? No, but, you know what, he probably should have picked Billy Butler on his team.
Now, I personally have no problem with him not picking Butler. He's a doubles hitter, not a home run guy, and likely would have been a disaster. But he is a member of the host team and Cano had stated that he would pick a Royal back when he was named captain.
I don't think it would kill MLB to kind of nudge these captains into picking someone from the host club.
Booing Cano, though? Big deal. In fact, I thought it was the best part of what is really the worst night in all of the All-Star festivities. Too bad Cano didn't deliver. It would have been nice to see that stuff go on all night.
The one person you had to feel for was Cano's father, who was pitching to him. He looked shaken by the boos. Again, though, if he's that sensitive, he should probably cancel any trips to Fenway Park to see his son play.
So while the rest of the baseball world piles on those mean fans in Kansas City, I will hand out my midseason awards. So, here we go:
AL MVP - MIKE TROUT, LOS ANGELES ANGELS: Since the 20-year-old phenom has come up, the Angels are 42-24. Maybe it's a coincidence, but in the 64 games Trout has played, he has 12 home runs, 15 doubles, 40 RBI and 57 runs scored to go along with 26 stolen bases. He also has played Gold Glove-caliber defense. And, oh yes, he leads the AL with a .343 batting average. I don't think it's a coincidence. HONORABLE MENTION: Josh Hamilton, Texas
AL CY YOUNG - JERED WEAVER, ANGELS: Last year's All-Star Game starter for the American League, Weaver has been the best pitcher in the league again this season. Although he spent some time on the DL with a back injury, he's 10-1 with a 1.96 ERA. He was 4-0 with a 0.33 ERA in his final four starts before the break and is pitching to a league-best 0.90 WHIP. Of course, his first half was highlighted by a no-hitter to beat the Minnesota Twins back on May 7. HONORABLE MENTION: Justin Verlander, Detroit
AL ROOKIE - TROUT, ANGELS: We've covered this, but for you new-fangled stats people, Trout also leads the AL in WAR. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki was the last player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Except he was 27. HONORABLE MENTION: Will Middlebrooks, Boston
AL MANAGER - ROBIN VENTURA, CHICAGO WHITE SOX: I must admit when the news broke that the Chicago White Sox were going to hire Robin Ventura to be their manager, I was scratching my head. He was always a cerebral player, but Ventura had not managed at any level. I'm not scratching my head any longer. He's gotten career seasons from Paul Konerko and Chris Sale, while Adam Dunn is back to mashing home runs for a White Sox team that is surprisingly atop the AL Central standings at the break. HONORABLE MENTION: Buck Showalter, Baltimore
NL MVP - ANDREW MCCUTCHEN, PITTBURGH PIRATES: The Pittsburgh Pirates are the best story in baseball this season and McCutchen is the reason why. A true five-tool talent, McCutchen leads the team in almost every offensive category and is tops in the majors with a .362 average. His 18 home runs, 60 RBI and 58 runs scored also are among the league leaders in the NL. He is the first Pirates player ever with 15-plus home runs, 50-plus RBI, 10-plus SB, 100-plus hits and a .350-plus batting average at the break. If you take the true meaning of an MVP, is there anyone who means more to their team than him? HONORABLE MENTION: Joey Votto, Cincinnati
NL CY YOUNG - R.A. DICKEY, NY METS: Regardless of what Tony LaRussa thinks, Dickey was the best pitcher in the NL in the first half. The knuckleballer's story is right out of Hollywood and there is some substance behind it, as he went 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA. He's also fanned 123 batters in 120 innings and is only 11 strikeouts away from his career high. His first half was highlighted, of course, by back-to-back one-hit wins over Tampa Bay and Baltimore as part of a five-start stretch when he did not surrender an earned run..
NL ROOKIE - BRYCE HARPER, WASHINGTON NATIONALS: Harper has lived up to the hype that saw him on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a sophomore in high school. While the Washington Nationals are in first place primarily due to their excellent starting pitching, Harper has become an integral part of the lineup, hitting .282 with eight homers, 25 RBI and 10 stolen bases. HONORABLE MENTION: Wade Miley, Arizona
NL MANAGER - TERRY COLLINS, NY METS: A lot of people are going to pick Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle and there is nothing wrong with that, but I'm going with Collins. You couldn't find anyone who thought the Mets were going to lose less than 100 games at start of season, and here we are at the break and they are right in the thick of the NL playoff chase. The young team has taken on his fiery no-quit attitude and they will be fun to watch down the stretch. HONORABLE MENTION: Hurdle, Pittsburgh