It is hard to watch a former champion struggle at his craft. For Robinson Cano fans, watching the 2011 Home Run Derby champion fade away in the first round of this year's competition was frustrating. Cano, the No. 4 seed, was blasted 24-7 in his head-to-head matchup with eventual champion Giancarlo Stanton.
When Cano won in 2011, the Home Run Derby featured a three-round, ten outs-per-round format. Cano's 2016 campaign was his fourth Derby appearance (2011-2013, 2016), but first in the new timed format. Cano, known for his nonchalance, had the lowest total of any player in any round in the two years of the new rules.
"It is more difficult," he says. "You got a time now. You got to swing. You've got to hit the most you can because you know the guy behind you, the guy in front of you, are going to get the same amount of minutes."
Cano is 33 and still among the best players in the game. His .304 average, 22 home runs, 23 doubles and 66 runs all rank in the top 11 in the American League.
But his Home Run Derby prime may be exhausted. And Cano wants to put that side of his career to bed.
"No, I'm not going back again," Cano says when asked about how he will improve for future years. "I just [did] this year because of my son. I'm not doing it again."
Cano's son, also named Robinson, lives in the Dominican Republic, but he was in the United States for this year's All-Star Game, accompanying Robinson and Robinson's father, Jose, a former MLB player known for his pitching to Cano and other players in the Home Run Derby.
"That's one of the reasons I want to do it, too," Cano told The Seattle Times on July 7. "It will be my dad, myself and my son. So us three there is something that’s going to be pretty special."
During that interview, the Mariner also said of the Home Run Derby, "I want to go back." A few weeks later, his opinion has reversed.
Cano spoke to ThePostGame at the Roc Nation Summer Classic Charity Basketball Tournament. His RC22 Foundation was a beneficiary of the event, along with CC Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation, Miguel Cotto's Fundacion El Angel and Nick Jonas' Beyond Type 1.
Also, a side note, the younger Robinson is already developing a nice swing:
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.