KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They love their Billy Butler here, and at least one local airplane sign had his back regarding the Home Run Derby.
A sign towed by a plane in the airspace above Kauffman Stadium on Monday afternoon ripped team captain Robinson Cano for not picking Butler, the hometown boy, for the contest. The sign, which made several passes around the ballpark as Cano, Butler and others took batting practice Monday afternoon, read: "CONGRATS BILLY! YOU BLEW IT CANO — 810 WHB." It apparently was bought by a sports radio station.
Cano smiled, kind of, as fans booed him during an on-field interview about 45 minutes before the competition. He tried to explain his decision, but few were listening. They love their Billy.
A strapping lad known as "Country Breakfast," Butler has never hit more than 21 deeps in a season, and has 16 homers in 2012 —which puts him tied for 16th in the AL. Not quite the head of the line. Still, Butler is the hometown guy and considering that the Derby doesn't count for anything aside from league pride, adding him as a participant would have been good for the event. Either the Derby pool would have been increased (the NL would get to add a guy, too), or Cano would have had to cut someone: Himself, Mark Trumbo of the Angels, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays or Prince Fielder of the Tigers. Yeah, whom do you cut from that group?
Butler will get to play (or at least be introduced) in the All-Star game on Tuesday. So it's not like his week is ruined by the oversight. But who knows the fountains better than Billy?
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