Tuesday, May 24 2022
Robinson Cano blue jersey near home plate 2020

Robinson Cano blue jersey near home plate 2020

It can’t be the PEDs.

There are too many players in too many cities who remain beloved despite violations of the Joint Drug Agreement. There are still others who we are almost certain used but weren’t caught, and who are not just beloved but enshrined in Cooperstown.

Simply put, steroids do not make baseball players unpopular among fan bases. Neither, for that matter, do racist tweets or domestic violence arrests. Fans forgive almost everything when they want to.

A player can inject Winstrol, tweet the N-word and be convicted of assaulting a human being, and be applauded at his home stadium. It’s hardly the most inspiring aspect of sports, but there it is.

So why, I’ve been wondering, do fans reserve such vitriol for Robinson Cano?

Granted, I’m basing this premise off information collected from Twitter replies. This is always a bad idea, because it is not a fair or scientific sample.

But still, it sticks out that every time I tweet about Cano, as I did last weekend while watching him play in the Caribbean World Series, many readers react with either anger at the very mention of his name, or some version of “buy out his contract, we don’t want him.”

Well … why?

Again, it’s not plausible that most of you are angry about PEDs. The group that is bothered by the ethics of drug use in sports (a group of which I am a part, by the way), is relatively small. The angriest constituency on this issue is clean players, not fans.

The last time Cano played for the Mets, he was quite good. He finished the abbreviated 2020 season with an .896 OPS and 143 OPS+. He hit .316/.352/.544.

On defense, his range declined with age, but he made up for some of that with a high baseball IQ, which included an aptitude for positioning and reading swings.

We have no idea if he can play at 39 years old without PEDs, or if he will. The best outcome is for Cano to use PEDs in 2022 and either be productive while getting away with it, or test positive and go away.

So … why aren’t you excited to see if he is still as awesome as the last time he donned a Mets uniform?

More than 10 years ago, I wrote a column for the Daily News exploring the role of racism in hatred of Luis Castillo. You probably remember, and you might still be mad about it.

Is that what’s going on with Cano?

He has, after all, been subject to classic racist tropes about laziness throughout his career. In the middle of an 11-year run of playing 150 games or more in every season — but not sprinting down the line on obvious groundouts — a white coach called him a “dog.”

While it’s never my place to downplay racism that could be directed toward another group, I’m not sure that’s the main issue in this mysterious case, either.

So ….

Is it the fact that Brodie Van Wagenen traded top prospect Jarred Kelenic for Cano and Edwin Diaz?

It’s fair to hate that trade, although Diaz and Cano have had excellent stretches for the Mets, and Kelenic, while still highly regarded, has yet to make the Mets regret moving him.

Is it a desire to move on from anything that reminds you of the team’s past, and shift your attention to players acquired or developed during the Steve Cohen era? Well, what about Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil and, uh, Jacob deGrom?

Yeah. I don’t get this one.

I’m not saying you should like Cano — as previously stated, the PED use actually bothers me — but I can’t figure out why many of you don’t.

Little help with this one, please.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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