I am still debating whether I should go to see Robinson Cano return to Yankee Stadium tonight, but I am worried I will get into arguments with booing Yankee fans!
Sorry, folks, there is no reason to hate Cano. Depending upon whatever final Yankee salary offer you believe, Cano was offered at least $70+ million more by the Mariners -- not exactly chump change. If Yankee fans are going to complain about players going for the money, then they must have to hate pretty much every free agent the Yankees have signed, because nearly all of them got their best contract offer from the Bombers. The Yanks would literally have a last-place team if it weren't for this "greed"!
Anyhow, I cannot blame Cano one bit for taking the Mariners' offer. And I never get why fans who didn't want Cano to go are not more ticked off at the Yankees. Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman spent over $500 million this offseason, but they pled poverty when it came to paying Cano market rate? Puh-lease. If they had $153 million for Jacoby Ellsbury, who had exactly one elite year, they could have ponied up the money to keep Cano, who not only had over a half-dozen elite years, but he stayed healthy and played nearly every game. If you want to boo anybody, boo the Yankee brass for not keeping Cano.
But instead, I expect that there will be a majority of boos tonight for Cano for his first at-bat in the Bronx as a Mariner. Of course, the two most notorious examples in recent years of fans booing their former stars was in 2006, when Johnny Damon returned to Fenway Park, and 2012, when Jose Reyes returned to Citi Field. Both times, the fans were out of line, IMHO. (Squawker Jon and I went to Reyes' return, and in retrospect, the boos were even dumber than at the time. Fans were mad that Reyes benched himself in his last game to win the batting title? You know who he kept from winning the title that year -- Ryan Braun!)
At any rate, I think for at least the first at-bat, you should cheer a former star for what they did for your old team (only exception for this would be for a Carl Pavano, who did nothing but collect a paycheck for the Yankees!) And I think Cano absolutely should be cheered tonight, which he will be, by some sensible Yankee fans. However, I am fairly sure that the booers griping about "greed" will outnumber the cheerers.
The thing is, though, is that if any of these vociferious booers actually met Cano in person, they would probably be all excited and shake his hand. Which is exactly what happened in a stunt on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show. Hilarious!