Last night was Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby (brought to you by State Farm!!). Now I usually hate this nonsense event. It’s a contest among a handful of MLB players to see who can hit the most home runs off a batting practice pitcher. Whoop-dee-doo.
But I happened to watch last night. Why? Because I was at work and bored, and because the day before the All-Star Game is one of two days during the baseball season when there is no real baseball (assuming one counts the ASG itself as real baseball, which is itself a stretch). So anyhow, I watch the stupid event, and it actually turns out to be pretty awesome.
The final round matched up Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox against Robinson Canó of the Yankees. I hate all things Red Sox, but aside from his uniform, it’s pretty hard not to like Gonzalez. He’s an absolutely sick hitter and seems like a perfectly decent guy. Canó is the Yankees second-baseman, and is just an all-around fantastic player. To make a long story short, Canó, despite being a middle infielder, was absolutely crushing the ball, with multiple shots travelling in excess of 470 feet. And he managed to beat AG in the final round by hitting a dozen homers.
But really the best part of the story is that the guy throwing BP to Canó was his own father, former Major Leaguer José Canó. Canó père didn’t have a long or illustrious Major League career. Here’s the back of his baseball card. And here’s the front (the dude is all of 49 years old — man, I’m getting old):
Father and son had a very serious operation going. I don’t think José cracked a smile the whole time, and even Robbie, a notoriously grinning figure on the field, was dead serious about this nonsense (at least until it was all over). Anyhow, it was a cool little situation that worked out well. Here was José after it was over:
Q. For Jose, can you just put into words how gratifying that must be to throw, to, do what you did tonight, to throw BP to your son and see him win the Derby like that?
JOSE CANO: That’s what I do all the time at home, just throwing BP. When he called me at home, that he wanted me to come to the United States because he’s going to be in the Home Run Derby, I said, “I’ll be happy to pitch to you, because that’s what I do at home,” you know. Whenever got the season off, we are working on a lot.
So it’s worked today, because sometimes you work and you never know what’s going to happen, when he’s going to need you. It worked. Thank God it worked.
Oh, and in addition to his dad, who did Canó bring to the ASG with him? His buddy Jordan the barber from the Bronx. Got to like that.