Ever the showman, three-time All-Star and current TBS MLB analyst Curtis Granderson is still mulling over moments of his Yankees career that could've gone differently.
One of them, which still sticks in Granderson's craw, involved him only as a bystander.
Granderson spoke with Yanks Go Yard's Adam Weinrib on Tuesday about the Chicago Baseball and Educational Academy, which he founded in 2016. Thanks to a $5 million donation, Granderson helped rebuild the University of Illinois at Chicago's stadium and facilities, provided they be used to help house his baseball academy (ages 8-to-18) for inner-city youths.
But Chicago's kids aren't the only population Granderson wishes he had a chance to educate. While discussing the most raucous home field advantages he's ever participated in (a discussion, of course, spurred on by whatever the hell's going on at Citizens Bank Park this October), the ex-Yankee referenced a hostile, "Yankees Suck!"-fueled environment in Texas for the 2010 ALCS.
That snowballed into a reminiscence on Robinson Cano and the Yankees getting booed like some sort of booing wildfire during the 2012 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby in Kansas City. If you recall, Cano was a Derby Captain, and fans grew increasingly upset with the affable Yankees infielder throughout the week when he opted out of choosing hometown rep Billy Butler for the Derby field.
During Cano's round, the fans were merciless, and the 2011 champion was unable to repeat ... to say the least. In fact, he went a hard-to-fathom 0-fer, hitting into several routine outs as the enveloping boos cascaded. Granderson, if given a second chance, would love to rewrite that particular bit of history.
Former Yankees OF Curtis Granderson revisits Robinson Cano's ill-fated 2012 Home Run Derby in Kansas City
"Everybody's upset that Billy Butler for the Kansas City Royals didn't get into the Derby ... they're booing [Cano], he's swinging and missing, he's popping up. And I'm like, 'Ooh, this doesn't look very good right now'," Granderson recalled.
"I was hoping, if we could replay it back then ... this is a 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' ... as Cano is 0-for-3, 0-for-4, he should've called time, had Butler come in, almost like a pinch-hitter in the Home Run Derby. The place would've gone nuts. He would've been a fan favorite."
Agh. If only. In '12, the Derby seemed to be losing a bit of its luster before all the timing-related rule changes and was becoming less of a spectacle (just ask Chris Berman). But if more focus had been placed prominently on the event, and if mugging for the camera and drama-building had been recommended, Cano probably could've improvised this on the spot and been a hero. Fantastic idea from Grandy, and maybe Butler will still get a moment in the sun the next time the All-Star festivities hit Kansas City.