Wednesday, December 11, 2013


As the Yankees announce that they will honor the late great Nelson Mandela with a plaque in Monument Park on Jackie Robinson Day this upcoming season, I can’t help but shake my head back and forth as I consider the Robinson Cano one-way trip to Seattle.  I feel violated by the greed, the betrayal and the utter drama surrounded by this signing- there I have said it.  And even though Derek Jeter sort of gives his protégé a pass when he answered questions at the latest Core Four Event this week, I don’t give him a pass and neither should you.  After all, what would his namesake say?  What would Jackie say?

“We got pretty close throughout the years but I understand it’s a business, it’s a business on both sides,” Jeter said. “I wish him the best,” stated the Captain at the Steiner Sports Memorabilia Event on Monday night.  Well, I don’t.  Listen, if you pushed yourself, if you went above and beyond, if you worked out religiously, maybe, just maybe you could play at the highest level into your late thirties, early forties, but not Robbie, not even close.

Jackie Robinson knew his body had had it and even though he loved the game and endured so much to just put on his uniform each game and trot out onto the field, he knew he was done.  According to Sharon Robinson, daughter of the great Jackie Robinson, he had made his future plans at the end of the 1957 season.  He just needed to work out the details.  Now urban legend states that he would have died before he played for his nemesis, the New York Giants, but that is simply not true.  He was done, because he was done.  He was done because he knew he could give no more and instead of being greedy, he walked away quietly- sort of the same way Roy Halladay did just this week. 

It’s interesting that Robbie did not want to be a Yankee for life. “I would have liked to have played with him longer but you understand it's a business, guys move on,” Jeter said. Ironically, the man who will be honored in Yankee Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day certainly was a Yankee for life.  “Mandela, who was only four months removed from his 27-year imprisonment at the time (1990), spoke to the crowd that day, put on a Yankees cap and jacket and declared, “You know who I am. I am a Yankee.”  Amazing- just like that- he felt Yankee blue in his soul!  Too bad, too sad, Robbie!

Jackie, Nelson and Robbie- two that exemplify freedom and simplicity and one that exemplifies…well, to put it nicely, greed, but I have other choice words off the record to describe him.  You make decisions in life, and you can’t look back and undo them.  You have to live with your choices.  I guess to keep it simple, I will quote a little something from Walt Disney, “Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.” 

So, ask yourself, Robbie, what would Jackie say?  Would he take a deal knowing that he could not possibly be at his best many years down the road, or would be a realist?  Would he just be happy with what he has or would he push the envelope?  I know how I would answer these questions because I have a Jackie like person in my ear every day helping me make honest choices.  What about you, Robbie?

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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