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YES Network’s Michael Kay blasts Robinson Cano for not hustling

Aug 4, 2013, 7:55 PM EDT

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Leading off the top of the eighth inning with his team trailing the Padres 6-3, Robinson Cano weakly grounded out to second baseman Logan Forsythe, who handily threw him out at first with plenty of time to spare. Cano lightly jogged down the first base line before turning back towards the dugout.

Michael Kay, leading today’s broadcast on the YES Network, took a few minutes to take Cano down a few pegs, criticizing the superstar for not going 100 percent down the line. Shortstop Derek Jeter was brought up, as usual, as the paragon of hustle. The camera panned to him as he reverently stood on the top step of the dugout, sitting out the second of two expected games off due to a calf injury. During the break between innings, Kay tweeted this:

The instinct to praise Jeter for his hustle while he continues to battle injury after injury is interesting to me, since the hustle is one of several reasons the future Hall of Famer has battled so many injuries recently. The same goes for Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, one of a handful of players known for going 100 percent down the first base line now matter how routine of an out it is. Utley has battled lower-half injuries dating back to 2010.

One must do some risk-reward math when talking about the need to bust it down the line every time. There is a non-zero chance that the infielder makes an error attempting to make the play at first base, but there is also a non-zero chance that Cano injures himself going too hard down the line. The benefit is that, in those rare times an error is committed, you get a free base or two you wouldn’t have otherwise had. The consequences, when a player is injured, are manyfold: A) you may lose the player for X amount of time: it could be a day, or a week, or the rest of the season; B) you have to use a less-qualified player in his stead for as long as he is out; C) you risk losing more than one game; and D) in the case of the player not missing time, he still may compensate for his injury, increasing the risk for other issues, or he may simply play hurt, reducing his effectiveness.

The smartest players are the ones who don’t seriously run on routine outs. What little benefit there may be is far outweighed by the injury risk.

As for Kay, he is doing a good job of giving Cano a reason not to continue his career with the Yankees as he is eligible for free agency after the season. Why play for a team whose broadcasters, and subsequently the fan base, think you’re lazy and don’t care about the outcome of the game?

  1. serbingood - Aug 4, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Finally a Yankee post that doesn’t start out A-Rod says…. or MLB plans to suspend….

    Sometimes when you are on the Titanic, you realize that regardless of how fast you bail water, it’s still a losing cause.

    If I were Cano I would sign a 1 year deal to see how the team forms over the winter. He can standout on a mediocre team and make big bucks elsewhere.

    Cano is an asset to the team. If there is a lack of Hustle, let Giraldi handle it. I see to recall that Cano was benched once by Torre for a game to do lack of hustle and maybe it’s time again, OR he’s just damn tired and could use a day or two off.

    • justjrenlisted - Aug 4, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      This is crazy. Why would a player ever sign a one year deal when he could easily get a huge, long term contract? He could get hurt during that one year deal, thus negating his chances of getting that long, huge contract. Why would anyone give up that kind of security? No one that’s even the slightest bit reasonable would.

  2. eagles512 - Aug 4, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Ridiculous-a player should hustle to first every time.

  3. thebadguyswon - Aug 4, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Newsflash Bill. Most people don’t like lazy players. Especially when they are extraordinarily well-payed. Human behavior 101.

  4. irishdodger - Aug 4, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    So how does Baer justify Matt Kemp not hustling even though it resulted in his current visit to the DL. Bases loaded, two out in a blowout. Kemp on 3rd & batter hits routine grounder to 1B. Pitcher doesn’t hustle to cover bag, so 1B realizes he can’t beat runner to bag (b/c said runner is hustling!). Meanwhile Kemp assuming its an easy out is dogging it down the baseline. The 1B wisely saw Kemp loafing and threw home. Kemp then speeds up realizing he’s going to be out. He ends up not even sliding and rolls his ankle at home plate. Why? Because he wasn’t hustling,

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:31 PM

      I love these one off games. Years ago the Yankees were playing in Toronto, with Jeter on first and the shift applied. Jeter stole second, and realizing no one was covering third, took off for that. Unfortunately the catcher noticed, and while receiving the throw, tried to block the base by sliding in knees first. He succeeded in tagging Jeter, and also separating jeters shoulder.

      If Jeter doesnt hustle, he doesn’t get hurt.

      Your turn…

      • hittfamily - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        Cutis Granderson, knowing the importance of every baserunner, even in spring training, takes a fastball to the wrist. It broke it, and he was out for 8 weeks, but the runner who took his place made it all the way to second. A 2 out hit would have scored him.

        Granderson, in his 3rd game back, was again presented the opportunity to get on base, in a very similiar fashion, took it. The wrist broke again. A pinch runner was awarded 1st base though. Unfortunately, Alex Torres has only allowed 1 run this year, and this was not that run.

        It doesn’t matter that you may get injured. Getting on base is getting on base. That pinch runner could be the difference in playoffs or golfing. You need to go 100% every time, all the time!

      • hittfamily - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:53 PM

        I’m just curious how dumb these thumbers are that keep thumbing us down church.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        Pete Rose used to hustle down to first on a walk. He knew how to entertain.

  5. wheels579 - Aug 4, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Michael Kay has been a Yankee shill since the first day he took that job, so despite the hypocrisy it is nice to see him do something other than brown-nosing. That said, anyone who thinks Cano wouldn’t return to the Yankees because of criticism by their broadcasters is a fool.

  6. forsch31 - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    >>>”The smartest players are the ones who don’t seriously run on routine outs. What little benefit there may be is far outweighed by the injury risk.”

    Really? It’s a game, Bill. Injuries will happen, regardless of whether you’re trying to protect yourself from it or not. It’s part of the risk of doing any athletic activity. If you’re not willing to take that risk…quit playing.

    Also, comparing Jeter to Cano as an injury risk is self-defeating, since Jeter is 399.9 years old and hasn’t been injured much in his career until now, playing more than 150 games 13 times in the past 17 years. So, I guess how he plays actually is right…since he really didn’t get hurt that much playing as hard as he does, and he managed a nearly two-decade long career, huh?

  7. wheels579 - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    And for all you kids out there who want to be baseball stars, Bill Baer says its ok not to run hard to first base because there is a greater chance than zero you could get hurt. And don’t save your closer for an extra-innings save chance either. Stay tuned for more great advice.

  8. gibbskins9 - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    So I’m to think Cano is going to leave the Yankees because he is criticized by a Yankee announcer. I think not getting 20 mil per year for 10 years will make him leave. It seems the writing at this site is trying to stir up issues that don’t exist.

  9. bigjimatch - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Arod would have ran it out…

  10. 22yearsagotoday - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    We know what Charlie Hustle would say.

    • brucefan1 - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      “How much you wanna bet that he doesn’t make it to first?”

  11. cavemanna - Aug 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Play the game right or dont play the game. Period . Worst generation, society sucks.

    • zukith - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      “Play the game right or dont play the game. Period .”

      Good thing people like you are here to keep society all together with your sagely advice.

      What is the age range of people in the “worst generation” anyways?

    • brucefan1 - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      If you’re lucky you’ll die soon and you (and no one else for that matter) will not have to worry about your displeasure!

  12. realyanksfan63 - Aug 5, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    How can we forget the Yanks/Mets game a few years ago when down by a run, someone (and there’s been enough news about him already) hit what would have been a routine game-ending popup to the 2nd baseman Castillo, slammed the bat down in frustration, and wound up getting the game tying and winning RBI. How did Mark Texiera score from first base on that play? I think we all know the answer to that. And what about Jeter’s never-assume-any play is over mentality that led to him making the famous “Flip play” putout at home that preserved Yankee life in the 2001 ALDS. That play was said to have turned the entire series around. Like some else just said, it’s 90 feet. This is why you’re getting paid the big bucks.

  13. cornbreadbbqred - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    All this for that? Look, the fact that Jeter and A-Rod are not present makes for an even better reason for Cano to be prudent. Bozo Kay, who does not own or play for the team should have kept his trap shut. The team needs his bat most of all as a part of his presence. He was never hired to be an asset in small ball. Running out a grounder applies everywhere else in the baseball world except where there is massive investment placed upon a key player in the brightest marquee in the sport. Duh! All these guys know they can take a play off occasionally for good reason without sanction by their managers. Managers know their guys best and should be the ones to counsel. Not some talking head who his too full of his own blowhard breath. Tell him Kobe!

    Laker Fan

  14. doc - Nov 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Running hard is an injury risk? So is getting out of bed I guess. There’s a difference between jogging down the line and going at let’s say 90% to limit the already low chance of injury on simply running to first base.

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