Robinson Cano’s last game as a New York Yankee was September 28, 2013. In Houston’s Minute Maid Park, Cano went 2/4 with his 107th RBI of the season. His last plate appearance ended in a ground rule double. After the game was completed, most Yankee fans were not the least bit worried Cano would leave the team. When he signed a 10-year, $240 million contract in December to play for the Seattle Mariners, Cano shocked many by turning the page on his Yankee career.
Cano was without a doubt the most talented second basemen in New York’s history, and the Yankees are a team who have employed several greats at the position. Not only did he put up some of the best offensive seasons in the team’s history, he also played great defense and was a fan favorite throughout his time. Now, coming back as a Mariner, Cano faces being booed mercilessly every time he steps to the plate.
A lot of Yankees have been subject to the same, being booed for leaving their original team behind. Just last week, Jacoby Ellsbury was berated at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox for the same reason. Cano will probably receive a thorough mix of cheers and boos. It is well within the rights of a fan to jeer a player, but Cano was such a big part of some great Yankee seasons that it seems a bit unfair. He gave nine seasons in the majors, and another four years in the minors, to the Yankees’ organization. With the way the season has gone for the Mariners thus far, it also seems a bit pointless for fans to be on the attack.
Cano’s start with Seattle has not been an ideal one for him or the team, as the Mariners currently own the fifth worst record in all of baseball. Cano is hitting well enough, but it has not helped his team overcome its numerous other deficiencies. Even including Cano’s over-.300 batting average, the Mariners have the fifth worst average in baseball, and have scored the fifth fewest runs.
With rain expected, things may be shuffled around. For now, New York’s rotation for the series is shaping up to be CC Sabathia in game one, followed by David Phelps and Hiroki Kuroda. Cano will be facing three former teammates, in a stadium where he had a career .906 OPS. It should be an important series for the former Yankee star, and obviously one that stands out on the schedule for him.
Tuesday will be Cano’s first game ever against the Yankees, and his first game in the visitor’s dugout of Yankee Stadium. For a few days, Cano will be revisiting an old chapter of his life. Both he and the Yankees have moved on, with varying measures of success so far. Once the game begins, he is simply an opponent, but he does deserve a measure of respect when he first steps onto the field. Cano may be on a new chapter, but what he did for the Yankees cannot be erased.
Commentary by Brian Moore
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering New York Baseball