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Columnists: Fans shouldn’t call Cano a greedy sellout. That’s OUR job!

Apr 30, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT

Robinson Cano AP

I’m amused by the Yankees fans who chanted “SELL OUT!” at Robinson Cano last night because if they actually believe that they’re pretty oblivious about the team they root for. But I pretty much stop at amusement. Fans can say what they want and, as I said yesterday, whether you boo or jeer isn’t exactly a big deal. It’s certainly not the stuff of genuine outrage. The most it inspires me to do is to smile, make a wisecrack and move on.

The New York columnists are a tad more miffed at this. Or at least they’re pretending to be today in an effort to fill column inches. Joel Sherman says it was wrong, wrong wrong for fans to boo Cano. Bob Klapisch has a lecture ready too. He calls fans “misguided” for booing Cano and called the booing and jeering “classless.” Then he decided to lecture the plebes in the cheap seats:

Cano didn’t sell out – he made the only possible move. There isn’t a single Yankee, let alone a Bleacher Creature, who would’ve done otherwise. That’s the other lesson that apparently needs to be taught in the Stadium’s hinterlands. The ballplayers you root for are businessman surrounded by agents, lawyers and accountants. They are capitalists nurturing their No. 1 asset, their careers. All of them – yes, even Derek Jeter – play baseball for the money. Cano is no better or worse than his peers. He did nothing wrong by picking the Mariners over the Yankees.

Get that? Don’t call Cano a sellout. If you do, you simply don’t get it and, in any event, you are in no position to judge.  Which would be an awesome message if Klapisch himself didn’t write this back in December when Cano signed with the M’s, under the headline “Robinson Cano deal was all about the money”

Cano is gone, having chosen the Mariners for the coldest reason of all – they made him richer than the Yankees ever would . . . Yankee fans can rightfully call Cano a mercenary, but what law did he break?”

To be fair to Klapisch, it’s not a 100% inconsistent column. He said then, as now, that it’s a business. And that Cano’s leaving had just as much to do with the Yankees’ miscalculations as Cano’s greed. But he is very sharp with Cano about said greed, saying Cano “got his wish for enough cash to run a fund a third-world economy,” saying that his contract negotiations were all about him “shopping at an ATM” and making it clear that, by going to Seattle, he has tarnished his legacy, has shown he’s not interested in winning and has ceased to be relevant as a baseball player.

All things which, if the Bleacher Creatures could reduce them to signs and chants last night, Klapisch himself would likely be condemning today. For you see, fans sitting out in “the hinterlands” aren’t qualified to makes such judgments about ballplayers. Only credentialed columnists are.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    By “hinterlands” I assume he means the less expensive seats. The seats closer to field level were close to empty last night. Rich people don’t like the cold.

  2. chip56 - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    I think the weather did play a role in last night’s reception for Cano. My guess is that the people who came out for the game were mostly the drunk morons who usually get shouted down by the majority of fans.

  3. lazlosother - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    The whole thing was amusing. One columnist wrote yesterday that if the boss were still alive Cano would still be a Yankee. I hadn’t seen an “if the boss were here” article in a while. Things often get silly when people write about NY.

    The whole Cano thing overshadowed CC getting kicked around again. He lost it in the 5th and they weren’t cheap hits either. They weren’t pitches left over the heart of plate or up in the zone. His location wasn’t bad and he still got mashed. Not a good show at all. NY is in first but they have a negative run differential and sooner or later the math will catch up with them.

  4. [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    The New York columnists are a tad more miffed at this. Or at least they’re pretending to be today in an effort to fill column inches.

    Easy solution, stop reading the NY Sports pages. It’s adding years to my life!

    • 18thstreet - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      I’m not clear why columnists is plural in the headline. Only Klapisch is shown being hypocritical.

  5. peymax1693 - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    As a Yankee fan, I must say that I was disappointed by the fan reaction to Cano. I was hoping we would show that we are better than that.

    Seeing Yankee fans hoist signs calling Cano a sell-out was the most tragi-comic thing to witness. Apparently, the irony of my fellow Yankee fans calling Cano a sell-out was lost on them.

    It reminded me of a Tea Party rally in DC, back in 2010 I think, when an activist was seen holding a sign that said “The Government better keep its hands of my Medicare.”

    • chip56 - Apr 30, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      I agree completely.

      I thought the organization handled his return poorly (they should have done a video tribute like Boston did for Ellsbury) and the fans made all Yankee fans come off badly.

  6. Liam - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    I just want to clarify that some Yankee fans are embarrassed by the reception Cano got last night.

  7. rbj1 - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    As a Yankee fan I’ve got no problem with Robbie signing elsewhere for more money. He’s got a limited amount of time to make his money. It is a business.

    • pillowporkers - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      As a Yankee fan, you should be able to realize that 9/10 times, the money chasing pipeline is flowing into the Bronx, not out of it. Am I the only one who finds the reaction to Cano hypocritical coming from the Yankees and their nearly endless wallet?

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        Am I the only one who finds the reaction to Cano hypocritical coming from the Yankees and their nearly endless wallet?

        No, most of us are aware of how hypocritical it is, which is why we don’t care a la rbj1’s comment. But getting your cues from the NY Sports page about how Yankee fans are reacting is like reading the Weekly World News to see what’s going on in society.

  8. icanspeel - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Aren’t the Yankees the definition of an organization where greedy sellout players go? Are they just made they lost 1 of their own?

    • thisdamnbox - May 1, 2014 at 1:51 AM

      NY has been outspent by the Dodgers the last couple of years, so it’s easy for the Yankee fans to forget they bought most of their championships since the 90s…

  9. ctony1216 - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Even funnier: ESPN-New York ran a poll, “Will You Boo Robinson Cano?”. And ESPN radio guy Michael Kay has been taking about this for a few days. All have been clearly implying there’s a reason to boo Cano. Keep in mind that ESPN could have run a poll, “Will You Give Cano a Standing O?” thanking him for the WS ring and many All-Star seasons in NY? Well, some fans did give Robby a Standing O — I would have — but most booed.

    Now ESPN has a couple of columns criticizing the fans for booing. Gee, I wonder where the fans got the idea?

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      Kay also brought up how people criticized Cano for not running hard to first base all the time. He kept talking about it in the third person, as if he weren’t the grandmarshal in the “robbie should run hard to first all the time” parade.

  10. doctorofsmuganomics - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    I find it funny how people get mad about a player who DARES to make money.

    I wasn’t aware most baseball players worked for room and board plus peanuts

    • umrguy42 - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      “room and board plus peanuts”

      What, did you miss the memo that salaries were taking a time-warp back one century?

    • sandwiches4ever - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      When did they start getting peanuts? Agents are ruining this game, I tell you.

  11. hojo20 - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Bleacher Creatures are the biggest losers on earth.

  12. SBoy - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Good article but I do get tired of hearing how everyone would do want players who seek max $$’s do. You know there are players who sign extensions clearly for less than what they would get as free agents… A.K.A Dustin Predroia…

    To call Cano greedy is fair… but he wasn’t a sellout because he never professed his loyalty to the yankees and then decided to leave once the money was offered… It was always known he was after the money… The turnoff for me was that the yankees broke their own policy out of respect for Cano and tried to renegotiate when he had a year left. Cano reportedly wanted 10 years and 310 mill for the yanks to buy out his free agency… THAT was greed taken to another level and was an offensive offer. Can’t blame the yanks for backing off. The whole point of the extension offer by teams is the pay a little less than might be expected in free agency. The benefit to the player is they get a good contract from a team they are happy with and avoid losing a big contract if they get hurt playing out their existing one.

    But when cano said the yanks disrespected him, he was wrong. Dude had zero loyalty to NY… Good for him, he found his “one dumb owner” in Seattle… I won’t boo cano, but I won’t cheer him either.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      Good article but I do get tired of hearing how everyone would do want players who seek max $$’s do. You know there are players who sign extensions clearly for less than what they would get as free agents… A.K.A Dustin Predroia…

      Pedroia had two years left on his contract when he signed his extension, so he didn’t have a lot of bargaining power. While he did leave money on the table, it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

      • SBoy - Apr 30, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        Whether they have 1 or 2 years or even make it to free agency, the point is players do give teams “home team discounts” and or trade potential max value for security… Not EVERY player seeks max $$’s… In asking for 70 million more than what ONE team eventually offered him, I don’t think it is unfair to call Cano greedy… It is a choice that lots (but not all) players make.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        Whether they have 1 or 2 years or even make it to free agency, the point is players do give teams “home team discounts” and or trade potential max value for security

        Yes, but if he asked for more money they could have pulled the contract off the table. Having two years of control left is huge for the team.

        In asking for 70 million more than what ONE team eventually offered him, I don’t think it is unfair to call Cano greedy

        He didn’t ask. The Yanks offered him a 7/$175M contract and the Mariners offered 10/$210M. Two days later the Mariners upped their offer to 10/$240M. According to him, it was the years and not the money, but the Yanks have finally taken the right stance that these 10 year deals for guys on the wrong side of 30 is bad.

      • SBoy - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        When I made this comment:

        In asking for 70 million more than what ONE team eventually offered him, I don’t think it is unfair to call Cano greedy.

        I was referencing the alleged 310 million Cano (or reps) asked for from the NY to buy out his free agent rights. Which turned out to be 70 million more than the one dumb owner in Seattle offered him.

        As I said, I don’t consider him a sellout because he never declared loyalty to the yankees only to sell out when more money came along… But he was going after every last dollar… and it is not something that EVERY play holds out for or aspires for.

        Definition of greed: “An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.”

        I’m not putting a moral judgement on it but it is what it is and people can reach their own conclusions as to Cano being greedy or not.

      • thisdamnbox - May 1, 2014 at 2:01 AM

        Your comments offend me greatly…there are SEVERAL dumb owners and one moron of a president/CEO of the Seattle Mariners!

  13. punksinplay - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    New York sports columnists are a desperate, transparent bunch these days. They know their relevancy is threatened by the the enormous amount of information fans can access on the internet. They take the most controversial points of view just to make sure that folks click on their column. They no longer care if they come across as hypocrites; They fuel the fire then have the nerve to scold the fans when they pick up on the narrative. It’s truly mind boggling that they still consider themselves “sports reporters”.

  14. senotonom205 - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    See, here is where you lose me. You chose a very sensationalist title for the blog post, and then even go on to admit that the argument you are making is a bit of a stretch. You admit that it is not 100% inconsistent, but because in one article he is actually spelling out the cold hard truth, and the next he is simply reminding his readers of that. Of course the press is inconsistent, but this seems like you are just trying to drum up a story where there is none.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      Of course the press is inconsistent,

      Why is this of course? It’s similar to the arguments some of us make during HoF/award voting time. What’s so difficult about being consistent? And if you aren’t, being called out on it?

      • senotonom205 - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        I guess I should have been more specific. Sports writers are inconsistent, because they write based on narratives. Some narratives sell better than others, my point is that, the writer was not being inconsistent at all. He simply said the same thing, from two different view points. Craig makes him seem like he is being some kind of high and mighty condescending hypocritical jerk, which he is not. The title of this blog post was completely sensationalist and misrepresented the content of both articles.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        The problem I have, is that I don’t want narratives from my writers. If I wanted a narrative, I’d read a novel (never mind that many of them are making up the narrative, aka it’s a lie). I want them to tell me what’s happened. I think too many sportswriters, especially NY based ones, play the circular argument that they write what they write because the reader’s like it, and the reader’s like what they write about. They almost feel paternalistic about sports with us, as readers, as the children.

        Craig makes him seem like he is being some kind of high and mighty condescending hypocritical jerk, which he is not.

        But what if Klapisch has a history of being just that? Is it still fair game? Or should Klap get the benefit of the doubt?

  15. cmp78 - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Wallace Matthews takes it a step further, he apparently can see it in Cano’s eyes that he doesn’t want to be in Seattle (I’m sorry, he says it’s “fair to wonder,” Matthews has to leave himself some wiggle room, after all). And if you’re interested, it comes with a “Robinson Cano doesn’t hustle” reference, too.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/yankees/post/_/id/72948/cano-and-yankees-an-uneasy-divorce

  16. gatorprof - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    I think that part of the problem here is that Robbie just didn’t come out and say that there are 64 million reasons that I left the Yanks for Seattle.

    In math terms, he just needed to plainly state the following:

    64M$ > winning
    64M$ > face of the most valuable, historic franchise in all of sports
    64M$ > being the next Yankee captain
    .
    .
    .

    It it ALWAYS about the money! Richard Sherman stated it accurately when he stated that respect = $$$.

  17. tonyrlz51 - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    I don’t get all the pearl clutching about booing a baseball player. When did it become horrible to boo an opposing player? Its not like it means that everyone who boos him thinks he’s a horrible person or something like that. I’m a Yankees fan, I enjoyed watching Cano when he was wearing pinstripes. I don’t begrudge him signing with the team that offered him the most money and years. I would have liked him to stay with the Yankees, but not at the price in money and years that Seattle offered. If I was at the game last night I would have both booed him and clapped for him.

    Although, I do agree, my fellow Yankee fans chanting, “you sold out” is a bit rich and does lack a certain self-awareness. Also, I think the whole lack of hustle thing is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Those who push that line of reasoning are clearly bitter.

  18. sumkat - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Funny. I don’t remember Yankees fans (or columnist) having any problems with it when the Yankees had a limitless payroll

    “Guys should be loyal to the Yanks….but just don’t be loyal until you get to the yanks”

  19. brandotho - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    I don’t blame Cano for leaving, but I don’t blame fans for booing him, especially after a series of comments he made of how the Yankees didn’t respect him, how Seattle needs help in the lineup, that he’s happier in Seattle than in New York, etc.

  20. largebill - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Greed is a nebulous word. The numbers tossed around in pro sports are difficult to comprehend for most folks. However, Someone seeking what they believe to be fair market value for their labor is not necessarily being greedy. An object or a service is worth what the free market will support. Imagine you want bottled water. You can go to a gas station/convenience story and pay $2 for a single bottler. You can get a bottle at a MLB game for $4.50. Or you can get a case of 24 bottles at a grocery store for $3.99. One could argue the owners of the gas station and the ballpark are acting greedy in charging so much. If the product continues to sell they are getting feedback from the market that they properly priced it.

  21. Reflex - Apr 30, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Meh, I don’t have any problem with the boos. New York fans were intellectually consistent given that they also booed Ellsbury and McCann when they took the field, so what’s the problem here?

  22. steelerfan9598 - Apr 30, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    So, the Yankees build their team by getting players to chase THEIR money but, if a player leaves for someone ELSE’S money, how dare he? Sell out! Makes sense.

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