The reception Robinson Cano received upon his return to Yankee Stadium for the first time since the former New York Yankees star left to join the Seattle Mariners was as cold and chilly as the rainy, 46-degree weather in the Bronx Tuesday night. Ultimately, though, Cano and his new club came away with a much-needed 6-3 victory.
When the 31-year-old second baseman's name was announced during the pregame introductions and then again when he stepped to the plate without pinstripes on in the top of the first inning, the boos rained down like the heavy drops that pelted the field during parts of the game. It certainly wasn't what Cano—who spent nine great seasons in New York, including a 2009 World Series title—had been hoping to hear.
FanGraphs.com's Jeff Sullivan offered some comedic insight into these chants:
In that first awkward at-bat, Cano, who signed with Seattle as a free agent back in December for $240 million over 10 years after saying he felt like the Yankees had disrespected him by offering $175 million over seven, struck out against former teammate CC Sabathia to end the inning.
That, of course, led to just about the only cheers Cano wound up hearing Tuesday: Bronx cheers. Give a listen to how the whole scenario played out:
"I'm not surprised," Cano said afterward, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. "You're going to get some cheers and boos. You just have to go out and play the game."
For the game, Cano went just 1-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts but scored and drove in a run. He did, however, fail to capitalize further on what was set up for a big moment and would have been the narrative of the night had Cano come through with more than a fielder's choice RBI groundout in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and the Mariners down 2-0.
Instead, the big blow of both that frame and the game came a hitter later. Corey Hart, one of the Mariners' other free-agent acquisitions this winter, smacked a two-run double to give Seattle a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Would it have been more satisfying, more gratifying for Cano had he been the one to deliver the go-ahead blow off his own bat? Undoubtedly. But that's not necessarily the point.
Ultimately, the Bronx crowd's response and whether the Yankees showed Cano respect in their negotiations with the five-time All-Star no longer should matter to him now that he's a Mariner.
What does matter? Results—specifically, wins. Even after taking Game 1 of a three-game series against the Yankees, Cano and his new club are badly in need of more W's, given their 11-14 mark and current fourth-place standing in the tough AL West—the same position the Mariners finished in 2013 without their new star.
So while Cano might have felt like the Yankees disrespected him over the offseason and then the fans received him coldly upon his return Tuesday, he would do well to remember one thing going forward: Respect and reactions aren't as important as results.
After all, that's what his nine years in New York—where only one result is expected—was all about.
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