July 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; American League infielder Robinson Cano (right) of the New York Yankees shakes hands with Billy Butler (left) of the Kansas City Royals before the 2012 MLB All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

We Will Remain Silent No Longer

Trenni Kusnierek hinted at it in her very good article earlier today, but I’d like to expand on it a little bit. We all know now that at the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game Robinson Cano was booed by Royals fans for reneging on his word to put a Royal on the Home Run Derby team. Predictably, the media and fans around the country called Royals fans classless and rude while never understanding the extent of the story—most thought the booing came from Billy Butler’s absence rather than Cano’s lie.

It was nice to see some more well informed journalists point out the national media and fans’ error in blame by making a case that it is more treacherous to be dishonest than to vocalize your displeasure with that dishonesty. But I’d like to point out why the sense of outrage took place, and it’s something that Royals fans are all too familiar with.

Kusnierek points out in her article that if the situation were different perception would be different. If a Royals player had done the same thing to a Philadelphia or New York player in Philidelphia or New York, those fans would have destroyed that Royals player, and the national media wouldn’t have said a word about it. The message the national media and fans were really sending to the Royals faithful with their backlash is “know your place.”

It’s perfectly fine for Phillies fans to be passionate for their team. It’s a crime for the Royals faithful to do the same. Why? Because we’re suppose to be the doormats. Doormats do not speak out about being walked out. They do not protest their role as a cleaner of the feet of the social elite. They do their jobs quietly.

At its essence, this is a conflict about the power structure of Major League Baseball, one that seems to hold the major markets up and the small markets in a position to serve them dutifully. A small part of me wants Kansas City fans to be seen as the bad guys in this drama. It says we no longer accept the role of irrelevant in the baseball culture. To me, those boos voiced the frustration of a culture that continually validates inequity. To me, those Royals fans stand as revolutionaries in a rebellion against all the systemic injustices that helped create 27 years of misery.

One of the standard bearers of this system is dishonesty. Major League Baseball has enacted policies and practices that run contrary to the pronounced goal of an equal playing field and a spirit of honest competition. When Cano voiced his desire to put Butler in the Home Run Derby, he was doing something that felt like a genuine gesture of good will. Going back on that statement amounted to a slap in the face from the rich kid whose dad paid his way through Harvard to the kid working nights to put himself through a state school.

I read people questioning, Did Cano deserve to be booed? My question is what would it say about the Royals nation had they remained silent, suppliant? I’m not sure if Cano is a good dude or not. He may be; he may not be. There’s really no way I can know that.. Everyone in the media seems to think he is because he smiles a lot. I’d smile a lot too if I was a millionaire playing baseball for a living. But he does stand as a representative of the New York Yankees who represent all the worst qualities of Major League Baseball. To simply let him lie to the Royals fan base with no consequences would have been to simply accept a place as a second-class organization meant to serve the interests of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. To that I say, boo away, boo more often, and take the frustration even further.


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Tags: AL Central All-Star Game Billy Butler Boo Kansas City MLB New York Yankees Robinson Cano Royals

  • Eric Akers

    Great article, along with Trenni’s. I don’t understand why we are not allowed to voice our displeasure. Maybe if we have more fans jump out of the stands to attack players on the opposing teams we will start getting some respect.

    • ArrowFan

      Easy I don’t think we need to go that far.

      • Michael Engel

        Yeah, that’s definitely not necessary, though I don’t think you mean for that to happen either, right, Eric?

        • Eric Akers

          Sorry for late response, but it was more a dialog on the White Sox fans than something I actually think we should do.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TP5DGQ7HNCAYA2FYRCPIVF6V4Q Joe

    Funny that the high point of your season is booing.

    • Marcus Meade

      Interesting observation. I assume from your well articulated comment that you mean to suggest that the media attention given to Royals fans for their decision to boo Robinson Cano is the “high point” of our season or that we perceive it as such. The implicit claim is that the baseball product isn’t worthy of great attention or praise so we must relish this time in the “spotlight.”

      That claim feels very short sighted and steeped in the type of fair-weather fandom often common among fans of large-market teams who experience fair weather much more often than not. It also exemplifies the very baseball elitism I was attempting to shed light on in this post. Use of the word “your” is an indicator that you do not mark yourself as a Royals fan and your tone of derision indicates a belief that the experience of your fan base is somehow above that of the Royals fan base.

      In fact, your comment is supporting the argument I made above. Essentially, you’re expressing the age-old argument that the Royals organization and fan base know it’s place and acknowledge its superiors, those whose high points would include more winning. This is certainly the sentiment of elitism, and as history has repeatedly shown us, can often stand as the pride before the fall.

      Thank you Joe for your enlightening and insightful comment.

  • dongtogolo

    That was beautifuld

  • ArrowFan

    Love the article, I have been growing ever more tied of the growing East and West coast bias in our sports media. If it wasn’t for fox sports Midwest there would be no national media coverage of KC sports. I have long been boycotting ESPN unfortunately I miss a lot of sporting events that I would otherwise enjoy. Their bias was never more evident than this week. Now it is time for our team to stand up and win the division then we will see what happens from there.

  • AJ

    awesome article

  • Jared S

    So let me get this straight. A mediocre hitter has to rely on the “Hometown All-Star game rules” to be allowed to play Home Run derby with the big boys? Pathetic wanting someone to let you in instead of earning your spots. I get that Cano lied about choosing Butler. but maybe he changed his mind. Frustrated Royals fans who always blamed the Yankees for everything under the sun is just looking for another scapegoat instead of dealing with reality. Maybe if your Super rich owner David Glass would re-invest is cash into the ball club and bring in some good free agent talent so you could win ball games and make postseason appearances, you would have a Bautista, a Trumbo, a Cano, and you wouldn’t cry about someone not pandering to you. Really? a Home Run derby snub get you upset? Wow!!! By the way David Glass is really a Cardinals fan.

    • Marcus Meade

      Did you read the article you just posted a comment on? I agree with the assertion that Billy Butler should have never been chosen for the Home Run Derby. But Royals fans aren’t mad because he wasn’t chosen. That’s a complete misunderstanding of the situation. They’re mad because they were lied to by Robinson Cano … actually I won’t explain all this again. Just read the article, then comment.

      Your argument on the financials of baseball also has very little merit because it ignores the reality that small market teams cannot generate as much revenue as large market teams and could never hope to compete financially (look at the Tampa Bay Rays, a winning franchise with no money). Does that mean that Glass spends as he should or makes decisions as he should? No. He should spend more and make better decisions, and every Royals fan knows that. But to argue that inequity in baseball is the fault of those on the short end of the stick is pretty ridiculous. It’s the same type of logic that blames poor people for being poor despite the fact that they were born into a life of zero opportunity. It ignores reality, context, and systemic inequity.

  • Al

    Bottom line is, we in KC don’t get in the spotlight often, and the HR derby was on our turf. Let us enjoy our 15 minutes of fame.

    Also, I paid $350 for my ticket. I will boo someone if I please.