Thursday, May 1, 2014
ARE WE ANY BETTER THAN THAT NIGHT IN KANSAS CITY?
I got home alittle later on Tuesday night, after a tough Little League loss. It was the opening night of Cano's return to the Bronx. I turned the TV on and I saw Robinson Cano approach the plate. By then, the stadium looked pretty empty. It was raining. And the boos were pretty loud, even though my TV.
Mike O’Hara, one of our BYB writers was at the game. Shortly after I heard the boos, I got a text from Mike:
“The boos are loud and steady even in an empty stadium.”
He was correct, they were. But then I got to thinking about this whole "Cano-booing" ordeal and how the media jumps all over this stuff and looks to stir up controversy to sell papers. Then I thought back to that night in Kansas City.
Robinson Cano chose his home run derby partners and he didn’t choose home town hero Billy Butler. Kansas City fans handed it to him pretty well. The boos reminded me of Cano's return the other night. That night in Kansas City, I found it to be utterly ridiculous and I got a lot of heat for that when I wrote about it. In the end, it was me defending my guy in Cano, and them protecting theirs in Butler. But then the boos happened in the Bronx on Tuesday, and I wondered… Are we any better than that night in Kansas City? I ask you... are we?
Now look, sports and fans are a fascinating combination. A player changes a uniform and we all go ballistic. But it’s not hate as some are portraying it… it’s sports. It’s fandom. It’s baseball. No one hates Robinson Cano. Trust me. Many are disappointed and from now until his 10 year contract is up, he will be booed at Yankee Stadium. There's no doubt about it. Sure, he did some good things for us in New York, don't get me wrong.
I would even say great things! Many of us loved him here. But this booing isn’t "personal." This is sport, and no one, no writer or opposing fan or Yankee fan or even your neighbor should force judgement on you booing a player. Just for the record, it is NOT bad sportsmanship, it's alittle poking, especially in Cano's case with New York fans.
Now look, in Kansas City, the fans were giving Cano jazz because he didn’t pick their guy. For the next decade or longer, he’s not welcome in KC. Fans don't forget. Those fans are annoyed for sure and Cano knows why and now expects it. But here’s the difference between the Bronx and Kansas City; When Cano’s career is over and hey, maybe he does his own farewell tour one day with the Mariners, Yankee fans will embrace him again.
Consider Cano in "Bronx Purgatory" right now.
He’s not back in our good graces because he’s a Mariner, but he’s not going to Hell either. One day, he’ll be embraced again… just not now and guess what? That’s OK.
Bald Vinny made a weird comment on Facebook the other day. He wrote:
That was followed by Erica Morales and her terrific piece titled YOU CAN'T DEFINE MY FANDOM! And you know what? She's right. No one should judge how you, a fan, should act toward a player. If personally you don't want to boo for a player...don't. Now look, if you’re hateful, if you threaten them, you’re on your own... that’s just stupid. But alittle boo once in a while never hurt anyone. Why? Because these players expect it once in a while and so does Cano, and trust me, he knows why. This isn’t the end of our love for Robinson Cano, it’s just a temporary break-up.
What I’m saying is baseball’s a business and Cano's got bank. Whether we’re jealous, sad or happy he’s gone, it's your prerogative how you want to handle it. You pay money to see your team. You pay money to root YOUR way. But know this… over time, Cano will be applauded again by Yankee fans, because he was "Robinson Cano the Yankee" once and he gave us a lot of joy over the years.
So I ask you again; Are we any better than that night in Kansas City? Sure we are. Because we’re Yankee fans. We remember the great moments in our Yankees history, and despite what Cano did this off-season, I think we can all agree that this is a staring contest between us and Cano right now.
But sooner or later though, someone’s gonna blink, and we’ll laugh about it. Probably in about 10 years or so, but we WILL laugh about it. Because hate and broken hearts isn't what this is about ladies and gentlemen... it's about sport and fans. That's it... it's that simple.
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