As it turns out, I am glad I chose not to brave the cold at Yankee Stadium tonight, as I would have gotten into multiple arguments with some of the many morons at the game. You know, the kind of people who booed Robinson Cano in his return (in the loudest crowd noise I have heard from the Stadium all year!), and who had the gall to chant "you sold out" about a player signing for more money. Yes, they went there.
As I said on Twitter tonight, that's like Lindsay Lohan calling Charlie Sheen a hot mess. Exactly
how lacking in self-awareness do you have to be as a YANKEE fan to complain about a player "selling out"? If you root for the Houston Astros, you get to make that complaint. The New York Yankees, not so much.
Let's review, folks. The game tonight was in a billion-plus-dollar stadium, where fans sat in seats costing as much as $1600 a ticket for just one game, and paid up to $40 just to park their car for three hours. The ballpark keeps out the riff-raff (those who "only" paid in double digits or the low triple digits for tickets) with a moat from being able to even look at the game at field level during batting practice. CC Sabathia, who signed the highest free agent pitcher contract ever at the time to become a Yankee, was on the mound. Brian McCann, who left his hometown Atlanta Braves to make more money as a Yankee, was catching. Mark Teixeira, who signed with the Yankees over the Red Sox for more money, was at first base. Masahiro Tanaka, who left his country to make more money with the Yankees, was watching the game in the dugout. Carlos Beltran, who signed as free agent with the Yanks for more money, was in right field. Oh, and Jacoby Ellsbury, who left the Red Sox for the Yankees' money, was also watching the game in the dugout after getting hurt. You get the picture.
So given that background, why are we, according to some knuckleheaded fellow Yankee fans out there, supposed to be soooo angry with Cano for expecting to actually be paid his market value, after he was paid below market value by the team for his entire career? Why, exactly, was he supposed to take $75 million or so less than he was worth? So Hal Steinbrenner could buy another private plane? So Lonn Trost can upgrade his limo ride? So Randy Levine can get a raise? So Brian Cashman can engage in even more reckless hobbies?
Newsflash, folks. Baseball is a business. Cano is the best second baseman in baseball, and one of the top players in the game. He had his chance at a big payday, and he took it. Nothing wrong with that. He made a business decision, and so did the Yankees. They decided that Cano was worth only slightly more than what they paid Ellsbury. In fact, one could argue that the Yankees were greedy in not wanting to pay Cano what he was worth. But let's suppose you think Cano wasn't worth the money. That's fine. Then why the bleep are you so ticked off that he went elsewhere?
Sorry, folks, but here's the thing: Yankee fans don't really have the right to complain about free agency, or about players choosing the highest bidder over the team that originally signed them, or to complain that a player taking a big free agent contract is a sellout. That ship sailed nearly 40 years ago when Catfish Hunter, and then Reggie Jackson, put on pinstripes, the first of many, many free agent signings over the years. The Yankees have benefited from having the ability to spend. That is fine. But let's stop pretending that every player to put on the pinstripes did it just because he wanted to play ball in the Bronx. Money played a huge part in their decisions, too. And to complain about Cano being a sellout just makes our fanbase look hypocritical and just plain dumb.
Not to mention that you have to wonder how many Yankee fans became Yankee fans precisely because of the team spending money on free agents, and winning with them. If these Bleacher Creatures and the other purists booing Cano for going after money are such purists, one wonders why they don't root for, say, the New York Mets. The Mets, after all, have spent much of their money on ill-fated Ponzi schemes, and not on actual players. Most of their players are homegrown and their ticket prices are extremely reasonable, too -- Squawker Jon, my brother, and I had field-level box seats at a Sunday Mets game last week for under $20 each!
Anyhow, the Bleacher Creatures, self-appointed arbiters of Yankee fandom, didn't speak for all Yankee fans when they engaged in their homophobic chants in the ballpark for so many years. And they, and the other Yankee fans who chose to boo Cano tonight, certainly don't speak for me now. Grow up already.