It is a time-honored tradition and one that has got to stop. Fans love to boo opposing players almost as much as they enjoy booing former players that are returning to that stadium or arena for the first time.
For decades, fans have felt some ownership over a player who spends a significant amount of time in one city with one fan base. That perceived ownership leads to ugly incidents where fans claim to be betrayed by said player, because of a business decision.
We got to see the most recent example of this when Robinson Cano returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time as a member of the Seattle Mariners. There was a mix or boos and cheers for the former second basemen and that is the problem.
Cano chose to not sign the Yankees' seven-year, $175 million contract last offseason and joined Seattle with a $240 million contract for 10 years. The fact that New York fans are booing him is completely hypocritical given how many free agents Brian Cashman has lured over the past 15 years.
MLB free agency is a double-edged sword. The Yankees made a calculated decision to not go above their set figure of $175 million. New York chose to go in a different direction and through 26 games it has definitely paid off.
Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka have all contributed to the Yankees' 15-11 start to put New York atop the American League East. No one can say whether or not Ellsbury, Beltran or Tanaka would be on the team or just one or two of them, but giving more than seven years and $200 million or more to a player over 30 would have been dumb.
Yankee fans may not have liked Cano leaving after spending his entire professional baseball life, which started in 2005, only to leave for the Pacific Northwest, but there was no guarantee that he would sign. The Yankees front office clearly didn't view him in the same light as Derek Jeter in terms of being the 'Face of the Franchise' or he would still be playing in the Bronx.
The fans need to shut up and accept that professional sports are a business. You can't welcome in new free agents every year and then when one of your own leaves then treat him like chop liver. I know the term fan is short for fantatic, but we have to be smarter. Professional athletes are not pieces of meat, they are human beings, who have a limited shelf life to earn a living.
Sure, Cano had his critics in New York. He hit .222 his postseason career and was only 3-for-40 at the plate in the 2012 playoffs. Cano's skills made the Yankees a contender every year as the best second basemen in baseball without question.
The only gripe I would have with Cano is that the way he left wasn't great. To say that the Yankees weren't giving him the respect he deserved after offering a contract worth $25 million per season for seven years is ridiculous. Cano left for Seattle and the Yankees are in better shape as a franchise than they were six months ago.
It might hurt, but yelling and screaming isn't going to help anyone. The proper behavior would have been to cheer Cano for all he did in his career in New York, which included helping the Yankees win the 2009 World Series.
Cano is happy with his new contract and the Yankees are pleased with the pieces they were able to bring in this offseason. Nothing lasts forever.