Home Run Derby winner Robinson Cano with his dad, Jose Cano, and mom, Claribel MercedesThe Home Run Derby might just be my favorite event of the entire baseball season, even more than the All Star Game itself. It's a bunch of guys pretending to be little kids again, just wailing on a ball. But this year's home run king, Robinson Cano, had the best trip back to kiddie land a player can get.
The New York Yankees second baseman had his dad, Jose Cano, hurling meatballs at him all night to help vault him over his closest competitor -- Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez. It was like a real-life Field of Dreams playing out in the Diamondbacks ballpark. A dad and his son just playing a game of baseball.
Jose Cano, who pitched six games for the Houston Astros back in the '80s, was all business, throwing out pitch after pitch as his son belted 32 homers into the stands. But watching was a whole other thing. Tuning out the annoying announcers who kept up a ridiculous patter about how the senior Cano would be disappointed in his son if he didn't hit the ball well (really, folks, Robinson is a NEW YORK YANKEE, I don't think Dad's got much to be down about), it was like watching every Little Leaguer's dream ... that one day they'll get to stand in a Major League ballpark hitting homers, while their dad, their biggest champion, the one who bought them their first ball and glove, stands on the mound.
Technically, the family hails from the Dominican Republic -- although Robinson spent a portion of his teen years attending high school in New Jersey -- but it was the ultimate All-American moment, the stuff commercials are made of: a little boy and his dad with a baseball. If you forgot about the pomp and circumstance for a moment and just focused on Dad and son, it was as if a game of catch would break at any moment.
Ok, so it was just a flight of fancy. Cano instead beat the record for most homers hit in the third round of the home run derby with 12, propelling him over Gonzalez's 11. And there came Dad, who threw up the baseballs that were in his hands, ready for the next throw, and charged at his son for a giant hug.
I couldn't have asked for a better sight to remind me why I love the derby. How about you? Were you caught up in the real-life Field of Dreams playing last night?
Image via Getty Images/Jeff Gross