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Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
  • Selig can't bow to pressure over Cano jeering

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  • Sports are prisoners of the moment sometimes.
    So it's no surprise that Bud Selig quickly responded with the most logical solution to Monday night's massive jeer-fest of the Yankees' Robinson Cano.
    Logical, in this case, however, does not mean the right solution.
    Cano, as captain of the American League, was in charge of selecting three other participants for the Home Run Derby. Looking at his choices, Cano did a pretty good job by adding the Angels' Mark Trumbo, the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista and eventual champion Prince Fielder, of the Detroit Tigers.
    Despite Cano hitting zero home runs, poorly defending his Derby title, the American League bashed the National League in the Home Run Derby. That made Cano look pretty smart.
    The Kansas City fans were hardly impressed. Cano was booed mercilessly for not selecting the hometown favorite, Billy Butler. With 16 home runs, Butler would have been a fair choice, but probably not the best choice in the spirit of competition.
    On the other hand, it's understandable for the Royals fans to want to see their own guy take some hacks in their own ballpark. The jeers were so loud and so nasty, it even spilled into Tuesday night, and Cano revealed that some harassed his family, which is crossing a line.
    Commissioner Selig came out the next day and said baseball may consider mandating one player from the host team to participate in the Home Run Derby because of the incident with Cano. Selig also referenced Fielder being similarly jeered in 2011 for not picking Arizona's Justin Upton for the Home Run Derby.
    It makes sense on the surface, but in reality, it's another example of a sport overreacting to a bad situation. The booing of Cano was all in fun, and he took it in stride. When his family became involved, that made it ugly, and it made the Kansas City fans look bad.
    Not every player is an All-Star, and more importantly, not every team has a worthy All-Star. The fact that every team must be represented is bad enough - but understandable - and now Selig wants host cities to have a representative in the Home Run Derby?
    In 2013, Citi Field is the All-Star Game host. That would mean David Wright would be forced into being in the Home Run Derby or maybe Ike Davis - if he's even an All-Star - or perhaps a yet-to-be-signed free agent for the New York Mets.
    Some guys just don't like to be in the Home Run Derby for various reasons, and now you're going to force a player to do it? Wright was in a Home Run Derby before and performed quite well, but he hasn't been back since.
    It just presents far too many unnecessary problems for something that is supposed to be fun. You could run into a situation where the host city has only one obligatory All-Star who happens to be a pitcher. Then what do you do?‚ Make the pitcher be in the Derby? Or do you call on a non-All-Star from the host team to be in the Home Run Derby?
    Page 2 of 2 - The Home Run Derby should be left alone, and sometimes the host city just won't have a guy in the event. I'm sure those fans will not lose sleep over it, and they will get over it really quickly.
    This is a trend that happens quite a bit sports, though. Commissioners have a regrettable situation and overcompensate to try to make everyone happy, and they end up doing too much.
    Hockey was guilty of that when it introduced the glowing puck on Fox ... Remember that?
    Baseball has done it a few times, most recently with adding an extra playoff team. Selig saw how amazing that final day of the regular season was in 2011 and wanted to recapture that magic.
    Again, it seems logical, but it really may do more harm than good. Baseball wants more teams in contention for a longer period of time, which is best for business.
    That makes sense, but is it really in the best interest of competition? The baseball playoffs were perfect the way they were with one wild card and the three divisions. As the sport expands, they needed to add playoff teams, and they did just that, to a smashing success.
    Now, with five playoff teams in each league, you get a guaranteed one-game playoff - virtually a "play-in" game - between the two wild cards to see who advances to the Division Series.
    One-game playoffs in baseball are typically epic and very memorable. Chances are, these one-game playoffs will be as intense as any World Series game because so much is on the line.
    However, it has now opened up baseball to one big problem. For every season in which there is a 95-win wild card playing a one-game playoff against a 93-win wild card team, you could very well end up with a 96-win wild card playing an 85-win wild card out of a weak division.
    If that 85-win team wins one game, suddenly that team is moving on, and the 96-win team goes home just like that. If baseball could guarantee two 90-plus-win teams battling for that final Division Series slot, then this plan would be golden.
    Alas, they cannot, and somewhere down the line - maybe this year, next year or 10 years from now - it will cause more controversy and force Selig, or whoever the commissioner is by then, to make yet another major change to prevent that situation from arising again.
    Sometimes, there is too much of a good thing, and sports must be left alone. This is one of those times.
    Follow Paul Jannace on Twitter @pjscribe.
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