Robinson Cano comes back to the stadium he called home for nine seasons tomorrow for the first time since signing a ten-year deal with the Seattle Mariners this offseason. All Yankees fans should be able to appreciate what Cano brought to the team during his time in pinstripes, even if it was clouded toward the end by endless hand-wringing about whether or not playing nearly every day without DL stints and nagging bumps and bruises was worth the tradeoff of not hustling down the first base line.
Yankees fans are fickle creatures. They are very much interested in the "what have you done for me lately?" analysis, and all Cano has done for them lately is take his talents to the west coast and grow a David Ortizian beard. So how will fans at the stadium welcome Cano back to the Bronx? Will he get a warm cheer in his first at-bat with only silence to follow? Will he be cheered for the entirety of the first game or for the entire series? Then there's the other option. Will Yankees fans boo Robinson Cano?
A lot of fans seem to have a resentment for Cano, whether because they bought all the stock in the lack of hustle speeches from broadcasters or because they feel he "sold out" by preferring more money over the pleasure of playing in pinstripes. For fans of a team that is practically built on players choosing Yankee dollars over hometown loyalty, the irony cannot be lost on any of you. Does Cano deserve boos because he preferred the same? Because the Yankees put a limitation on what they were willing to do for a player on the wrong side of 30-years-old after being burned by contracts of equal length before?
Derek Jeter seems to think that fans will remember what Cano did for the Yankees while he was still with the team and not boo him mercilessly when the Mariners visit Yankee Stadium tomorrow. I hope the Captain is right, but I have my doubts. It feels like Michael Kay would boo Cano from the booth if he could.
The Yankees got an up close view of how other teams respect their departed players last week when Jacoby Ellsbury returned to Fenway Park for the first time since becoming a Yankee. The Red Sox put together a video package of him that they played on the video board, recognizing his achievements as a member of the Red Sox. Are the Yankees interested in that kind of goodwill for Cano? Or will their silence in that regard be as deafening as I expect the boos to be?
Vote in the poll below: Do you think Robinson Cano hears boos tomorrow?