Via Joel Sherman -
There have been many times in the five-plus-year history of this version of Yankee Stadium when the stands have been full, the games have been important and the noise and enthusiasm have been lacking.
Many reasons have been cited for how the Stadium got unplugged. Poor acoustics. Rich folks unlikely to deliver much noise being the only ones who could afford seats close to the field. Too many indoor hiding places.
But finally something was unearthed that could stir a full-volume response from a even a quarter-filled stadium — that terrible, evil devil Robinson Cano.
You know he had committed the unpardonable sin of being the Yankees’ best player (by far) for about the past half decade, never was involved in off-field trouble and was well-regarded by his teammates. That horrible, horrible man. I really can’t separate who is the bigger public nuisance, Cano or Donald Sterling.
On a rainy, raw Tuesday night, the reception for Cano was chillier than the weather. He was booed incessantly, relentlessly and virulently from his pregame announcement through each at-bat. The Bleacher Creatures must have forgotten no team in major league history has spent more to import players from elsewhere as the Yankees have when they chanted “YOU SOLD OUT” at Cano.
The 10,000 or so folks who endured the bad weather sounded like four or five times that much with their animus drowning out the few who were trying to offer applause and thanks for the memories. It was as loud as the Stadium has been all year, louder than some playoff games of the recent past.
A few notes here:
1. This is a unique situation for Yankees fans. When was the last time that a “star” player in his “prime” left the Yankees to go sign with another team? Even further, when was the last time it was an everyday position player? Simple truth, here, is that Yankees fans are not used to having someone walk away on them. So, how are they supposed to know how to act in these situations?
2. The Yankees threw some gasoline on this one. No one was there at the game. And, they threw the field mics up to full throttle. When the M’s manager came out to argue with the third base ump late in the game, you could hear every word out of their mouth – until someone starting cursing and then YES lowered the volume on the feed. If YES had their field mic on normal levels, you wouldn’t have heard the Cano reaction in quite the same way.
3. Related to the above, the Stadium was empty last night. The only ones willing to sit out in the cold – and the rain – were probably consuming some adult beverages to offset their better judgement. To say that’s representative of Yankees fan, and how they feel about Cano, is ignoring the rules around sample size.
I think the “Welcome Home Robbie” reaction would have been a little different if the M’s first game in New York this year had been on Old-Timers Day or Bat Day. And, what happened last night was sort of the perfect storm, and things just lining up, for him to get the Bronx Cheer…and for it to be heard, thanks to YES.