All-Star Game 2012: Billy Butler Popular In Kansas City

During and after Monday night's Home Run Derby, the one big story was the reception Robinson Cano was given by the partisan Kansas City crowd after leaving Billy Butler off of his Derby team. Cano, of course, was booed when he was introduced, and cheered when he failed to hit a single dinger. An airplane dragged a banner above the stadium supporting Butler and saying that Cano got it wrong.

So these Kansas City fans kind of like Billy Butler. And Tuesday, they got a chance to show it a little less mean-spiritedly. Butler drew, by far, the loudest pregame ovation when he was introduced. And when he stepped up to bat in the bottom of the seventh, you could've heard the roar from somewhere east of Kansas City to somewhere west of Kansas City.

Butler grounded out on six pitches. Who knows if we'll see him bat again? But he grounded out sharply, and after he finished jogging to first and turned to jog back to the dugout, he received yet another rousing ovation. These Royals fans are mighty supportive of their own. Which is kind of the whole thing with their treatment of Cano -- it wasn't about hating Cano. It was about supporting Billy Butler, who's apparently even more of a fan favorite than you might have known.

Butler owns the fourth-highest batting average in Royals franchise history, among qualified players. He's ninth in slugging and eighth in OPS. Sixth in OPS+. One point ahead of Mike Sweeney. Suck it, Mike Sweeney.

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