Before the Royals’ game in Minnesota on Sunday afternoon, in what proved to be a very emotional moment, manager Ned Yost announced to the entire clubhouse that Billy Butler was chosen to represent Kansas City in the 83rd All-Star Game.
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, who is the acting manager for the A.L. team and hand-picked the reserves for his squad, opted to go with Butler over other Royals because he gives him a strong bat off the bench; stating, “Butler’s having an outstanding year. I felt like he was deserving. Also, he gives me a bat off the bench.”
This will be Billy’s first All-Star Game, and it couldn’t have come at a better time to a more deserving guy. So far on the season, Big Bill has been arguably the Royals’ most consistent hitter. He’s batting a solid .297/.365/.512 with 29 XBH (13 doubles, 16 HR), 30 R, a 2:1 K:BB ratio, and a WAR of 1.2. He’s homering every 17.7 AB’s and is 14th in the American League with an OPS (OBP+Slugging) of .877 (ahead of Adam Dunn, Joe Mauer, Prince Fielder, and Curtis Granderson).
Billy Butler may also be in line to take part in the State Farm Home Run Derby. A.L. Home Run Derby captain Robinson Cano stated in June that he’d be willing to select a hometown player to be a member of his team for the derby, and Billy Butler fits the description. Right now, with his 16 HRs thus far, Billy is on pace to tie Steve Balboni’s dubious franchise record of 36 HRs in a season. He’s also on pace for a career-high 119 RBI. There is some legitimate concern that participating in the HR Derby could have a negative impact on Bill’s swing, but a local fan may get no greater joy from all of the All-Star festivities than to say they watched one of their own send a few deep into the fountains.
Now, Billy won’t be the lone Royal at the game. Manager Ned Yost will be in uniform as one of the coaches on Ron Washington’s staff, while trainer Nick Kenney will be there as well.
Another Royal has a chance to make the team as well. Closer Jonathan Broxton was selected – along with Yu Darvish (TEX), Ernesto Frieri (LAA), Jason Hammel (BAL), and Jake Peavy (CHW) – as one of five American Leaguers up for the Final Vote, in which fans decide who gets to be the final player selected to be on the roster. On the season, Broxton is 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 30 appearances and has recorded 20 saves in 23 total chances. His 20 saves place him at 3rd place in the American League behind Baltimore’s Jim Johnson (23), Cleveland’s Chris Perez (23), and Tampa Bay’s Fernando Rodney (22). So if you want another Royal on the roster, you have until 3 pm Thursday to place your vote. You can do so at Royals.com or MLB.com.
This will be Kansas City’s second time hosting the All-Star Game, but the last time was all the way back in 1973 – when names like Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, Ron Santo, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Willie Mays, and Willie Stargell represented the National League, while the A.L. team included the likes of Carlton Fisk, Rod Carew, Brooks Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Bert Blyleven, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, Nolan Ryan, Carl Yastrzemski, and three Royals (Amos Otis, John Mayberry, and Cookie Rojas).