By Joel Alderman
Robinson Cano said so long to Yankee Stadium on Monday, probably with boos ringing in his ears and the usual smile on his face.
The former Yankee turned Seattle Mariner had just gone 1 for 3 and walked twice as his new team ran over his former mates, 10-2, in a makeup game that had the New York fans unhappy to say the least. The only cheer he got was when he was picked off of first base.
He is on the other side of the diamond now, thanks to a ten year 240-milion dollar contract he signed during the offseason. The best offer from the Yankees was 174-million dollars for seven years. Nothing to sneeze over either.
To the average working person, it amounts to greed. How much money does someone need in life? However, it seems to be human nature to take all one can get. Very few athletes give a “hometown discount.”
Not only did Cano show up with another team, but he has a different appearance. Robbie is now sporting a short beard, something the Yankees would never have allowed. He still has that infectious smile, however, and chews gum a mile a minute during games.
As for the booing, he told the New York Post, “I didn’t care. I got booed in the All-Star Game in Kansas City. So I get booed again. I’ve been through that before. I’m the kind of guy, you see me go to the plate, I’m always laughing. You get booed for what? Thirty seconds, one minute? That’s all.”
How the press described his reception
The NY Post wrote that Cano was “jeered heartily.”
Long Island Newsday wrote: “Just as they did during his first trip back to the Bronx in April, Yankees fans took every opportunity to boo Robinson Cano . . . He knew what kind of reception to expect. ‘It’s the fans,’ he said. You can’t control that. I’m not on the home team. It’s out of my hands.”
The writer for the New York Times felt that Cano was booed “unmercifully.”
Also, the Associated Press reported Cano “was again relentlessly booed by Yankees fans.”
So what was the point? Apparently many Yankees fans have forgotten about all the free agents their team has lured away with the almighty buck. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they see things differently.
The only thing like it is how Boston fans greeted Johnny Damon after he cut his hair, shaved his beard, and showed up in a Yankees’ uniform. However, when Jacoby Ellsbury came back to Fenway this year, also in the guise of a Yankee, he was met with more or less indifference.
Perhaps the reason for the emotional response to seeing Damon in the uniform of the enemy is that Johnny, aside from his baseball ability, was kind of a cult figure. When he left Boston his “disciples” were deprived of a leader.
Cano, however, is not a character or a guru. He was just an outstanding player for the Bombers. His appeal was only for his ability. That’s why it is difficult to understand why love had turned to hate.
The joke was on some fans
Some New York fans were shown up as hypocrites the first time Robbie came back. Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show filmed some scenes with a giant cutout of Cano to see if people on the street would boo at it. That is exactly they did. Then the real Robinson Cano stepped out from behind the prop and the folks were obviously embarrassed. They apologized and expressed their true feelings of admiration for him.
It was a stunt, but at the same time it revealed something about human nature.
Robinson Cano is no fool. He understands.
The best thing Cano can say
Cano won’t be coming back to New York again this year (unless through some miracle the Yanks and Mariners meet in the playoffs). He took his booing in the Bronx all in stride. He probably felt the same as what the late piano playing comedian, Liberace, used to say when his act received poor reviews. “I cried all the way to the bank.”
Years later, after continued fame and success, Liberace appeared on television and told Johnny Carson “I don’t cry all the way to the bank any more – I bought the bank!”
The way Robbie Cano is headed, he may also have one of his own someday.
*Apologies to Yankees’ broadcaster John Sterling, *Don’t yah know?”