Welcome home, Robbie. It wasn’t quite the reception Robinson Cano was hoping for in his return to his homeland. Although Cano told Jimmy Fallon he hoped for a standing ovation, I’m sure he had no idea what was in store.
“You sold out! You sold out!” One of the greatest parts about being a Yankees’ player is having your name resonate throughout the Stadium when you take the field. The Bleacher Creatures sing your name and clap until you turn and give a friendly wave or tip off the cap. It is unlike any other stadium experience across the land.
“You sold out! You sold out!” The Bleacher Creatures sang when Robinson Cano took the field Tuesday night in the Bronx for the first time since signing his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners this off-season. Boos, although I don’t agree with in Cano’s case, I would understand, as many Yankees’ fans feel betrayed when one of their homegrown stars bolts for greener pastures. But “you sold out”? From Yankees fans? That seemed a bit hypocritical, no?
My whole question the entire time that the media, coaching staff, and fans turned on Cano has been: If Cano took the 7-year, $175 million deal, would Yankee fans still think he was a lazy, uninspiring, bum? The answer is most likely no, that we fans would embrace having the best second baseman in baseball. Like I said, boos I would understand. Cano clearly made a financial decision, because he left a team with the most rings all-time to go to a team that has never even seen the World Series. But sold out?
Let’s first investigate the lazy part of the accusations. When Cano settled in at second base for the Yankees in 2007, up until he left this past off-season, he never played in less than 159 games a year. Have you watched baseball the past few years? To keep yourself healthy and off the DL these days, it means you have a regimented workout routine. What some fans saw as Cano dogging it down the first base line overshadowed what he really brought to the team. People would dog him on his effortless fielding, saying he looked like he didn’t try. From 2012 to 2013 he made 12 errors. TWELVE. He also has a career .985 fielding percentage. On top of that, he finished no lower than sixth in the MVP voting for the past four seasons. Cano wasn’t lazy. New York just got mad at him.
Now, let’s take a look at the sell out claims. I am a die hard Yankees’ fan. If you read my Bronx is Boiling segments every Monday, you know I have no problem telling you how it is. The Yankees are the greatest team of all-time, however, they are far from perfect. In 2002, the Yankees completely sold out, drifting from the Paul O’Neills, the Scott Brosiuses, and Tino Martinezes of the baseball world, and started importing mega superstars for mega millions. The Yankees tore apart the A’s stealing Giambi, for example. From 2002-2008, they continually ripped the games biggest stars from smaller franchises and continually came up with nothing to show for it. Sound familiar, folks?
I’m not bashing Yankees’ fans, here. I love our passion. I love the knowledge of not just the Yankees, but the game of baseball that Yankees’ fans possess. I love booing people, too. I can tell you that the whole time he was in pinstripes that I booed Giambi because he didn’t pan out. If Cano had done something big last night like homered or drove in the game winning run, I would have been booing him, too. But I would never join in in sell out cheers. That’s just hypocritical and very un-Bleacher Creature-like. How much did we, as Yankees’ fans, love ripping Wade Boggs, Johnny Damon, and Jacoby Ellsbury away from the Red Sox? I got news for you, people. They didn’t come to the Bronx because they look good in pinstripes.
If we were fans of the Royals or the Astros and our biggest star returned home last night, I would probably have had banners saying sell out on them. But we are Yankees’ fans. How can we fault anyone, especially the best second baseman in the game, for getting $65 million more than we offered? Thus far, it was the right deal for both teams. The Yankees, with the money saved, brought on Masahiro Tanaka, Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran. The Mariners made an investment in Cano to become the best and last night they beat the best. Right now, it looks like good business.