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Posts Tagged ‘Robinson Cano’

New York Yankees: Poetic Justice for Jackie Robinson

In Sports on April 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Robinson Cano Mariano Rivera Jackie Robinson

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This landmark day happened during a time when many felt justified to judge people by what they were instead of who they were.   On the 66th anniversary of Robinson’s historical day, every player in Major League Baseball wore the number 42 to commemorate the occasion, just as they’ve done on every anniversary since 2004.

This year’s celebration of Robinson’s anniversary was marred by the tragic terrorist bombing in Boston by an as yet unknown source.  Regardless of who was responsible for this act of cowardice, it is a virtual certainty that the bombing was carried out by a person or group that has no tolerance for people who don’t share their irrational beliefs.  It just goes to show that no matter how far we think that we have come as a society, the fact remains that there are people out there who are just as ignorant and hateful as those who believed that black baseball players had no place in Major League Baseball in the 1940’s.

The two most prominent connections to Robinson in baseball today are on the New York Yankees.  Robinson Cano was named after (Jackie) Robinson, and wears the number 24 (42 backwards).  Fellow Yankee, Mariano Rivera, is the last player to ever wear the number 42.

The Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks were off on Monday, so they all wore the number 42 in last night’s game, a day after the anniversary that will always be known for the events that took place at the Boston Marathon.

With pitcher, Ivan Nova, struggling early, the Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning; it looked like it might be a long night for the Yankees at that point.

After the third inning was completed, the Yankees and their fans showed their support for the people of Boston by playing “Sweet Caroline” – a time-honored tradition that has taken place at all Red Sox home games since the late 1990’s.  The bitter rivalry between the two cities was forgotten for at least one night in favor of the bond that we all share as Americans.

The tribute to the people of Boston, combined with the inspiration of Jackie Robinson seemed to lift the Yankees in the fourth inning.  Nova gave up a leadoff double, but eventually settled down, retired the side and held the Diamondbacks scoreless.  In the bottom half of the fourth, with two men on, Cano blasted a 426 foot home run, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

Kevin Youkilis scored on a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Nunez in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Yankees a 4-2 lead on the night that every player was wearing the number 42.  It was fitting that the fourth run was scored by a former Red Sox player and fan favorite of the people of Boston.

As they have done since 1995, the Yankees called upon Rivera to preserve the victory.  Rivera’s appearance was extra special last night given the fact that he is retiring at the end of the season, and he is the last player ever to wear the number 42 in the Major Leagues.

Rivera retired the side with a strikeout, a pop-up and a ground out, sealing the 4-2 symbolic victory for the Yankees, and giving poetic justice to the anniversary celebration of Robinson that was otherwise tarnished by the terrorist attack that occurred at the Boston Marathon a day earlier.

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Classless in Kansas City: An MLB All-Star Disgrace

In Sports on July 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm

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There is only one all-star game in professional sports that truly captures the essence of the game…Major League Baseball .  Many people don’t like the fact that the result of the game determines home-field advantage for the World Series, but that is irrelevant in the scheme of things.  The bottom line is that the game should be about watching the best players in the world showcase their talents for baseball fans everywhere.  Unfortunately, Royals’ fans in Kansas City took it upon themselves to disgrace both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game with their relentless booing of New York Yankee – Robinson CanoEven more disgraceful is the fact that these same fans verbally attacked Cano’s family in the stands for no reason whatsoever.

Cano’s crime?

Failing to choose Royals’ DH, Billy Butler, to participate in the Home Run Derby in front of the hometown fans.

Did the fans have a right to be upset with Cano’s choices?  Perhaps, but only because the game was being played in Kansas City, not because of merit.  There are currently 15 American Leaguers with more home runs than Butler this season.  Of the participants chosen, only Prince Fielder had less home runs than Butler heading into the competition, and he only trailed by one home run.  And the fact of the matter is that baseball fans love to watch Fielder hit home runs, while only Kansas City fans were interested in seeing Butler.  Based on Fielder’s dominant victory, and the performance of the other American Leaguers chosen over Butler, it seems like Cano did a good job picking his team.

Does it make sense to have captains choosing their team instead of just being the leader of their respective teams?  In my opinion, it does not.  And after what happened to Cano and his family this year, it would be surprising if Major League Baseball doesn’t take over that responsibility going forward.

Many people hate the New York Yankees because of their bloated payroll and continued success; it is their right to feel that way.  But that is not an excuse to treat the individual players with such disdain, especially when there was no heinous act committed.

The Yankees have no bigger rival than the Boston Red Sox, but even Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, came out to try and help Cano as he struggled mightily during the Home Run Derby.

Despite the fact that Cano hit no home runs during the competition, the smile never left his face.  He handled the classless crowd by taking the high road as he always does.

Royals’ fans celebrated each of Cano’s outs with a fever pitch that sounded like they had just won game 7 of the World Series.  Of course, the last time that happened was October 19, 1985.  Since that time, the team has been relegated to irrelevant status, while the Yankees have won five world championships, to go along with numerous playoff appearances.

At the end of the Home Run Derby and All-Star game, the Royals are still a non-factor in this year’s playoff race, but they are no longer irrelevant.  Unfortunately for them, they are not relevant for their play on the field, but rather for their classless fans who acted like petulant children when their hometown hero was passed over by Cano for what was supposed to be a fun exhibition.

Thankfully, the crowd at least had the decency to cheer for Chipper Jones in what was very likely the final All-Star Game at bat of his illustrious career.  However, that moment is a case of too little, too late when it comes to how America will likely view Royals’ fans going forward.

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