PORT ST. LUCIE — Robinson Cano spent 11 minutes apologizing Tuesday but never said exactly what about. As a first attempt at explaining bad behavior, it was better than Mark McGwire and Pete Rose and worse than, you know, the full truth.
I’ve known and loved Cano for almost 20 years, and I felt uncomfortable watching him answer difficult question after difficult question, including from me. In part because it’s insane that a second baseman in his second language would face the kind of crickets that most elected officials never stay silent on issues far more important to the common good than using illegal performance enhancers to make better baseball to play.
Still, in this little corner of the world, Cano committed a serious violation — Positive test for a performance-enhancing drug. It was his second offence. For this he was suspended for the entire 2021 season without pay.
Cano gave up some things with the two suspensions: his reputation, around $36 million and probably every chance of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Conversely, he returns to the league as a respected player. Assuming he doesn’t violate the drug policy again – and how can you assume that when Cano was brazen enough to get caught a second time? — he’ll be paid $48 million over the next two years to end his 10-year, $240 million pact — $40 million of which will be paid by the Mets.
But by far the most intriguing advantage for Cano is that the Mets have wrapped him in their blue-and-orange embrace. Buck Showalter already is Talking about Cano as LeadeR. His teammates don’t give him the cold shoulder, but stick to the script about second chances (or thirds) and forgiveness, and everyone makes mistakes.
“What should we do?” Showalter said. “We don’t intend to beat him up every day. I mean what’s the yield there? He wears our colors.”
Exactly. This is the polarizing world we live in – politically and in sport. what colors do you wear My husband is right, your husband is wrong – before I even know the subject. And even after that, the only prism that matters isn’t morality or right or wrong. Just what colors do you wear?
We saw this during the worst of the steroid era. Fans hated the plague of performance enhancers and the artificial inflation and decimation of beloved stats. Still, in San Francisco, they cheered and defended Barry Bonds. Same in St. Louis for McGwire. When a Boston fan said, “What about Giambi,‘ countered one New York fan, but what about ‘Manny?’ As if your own moral code might disappear because the other person might be cheating too.
I was asked by fans – ask me – what to tell your kids about the scammers. Then I saw the same fans and their kids wearing A-Rod and Clemens jerseys. Maybe ask the guy in the mirror. Tolerance was absent – unless the guy wore your colors. Then you could forgive and forget that a steroid user cheated the game and their fellow players. Many current Mets feuded with Cano. He had no intention of cheating on her. Knowingly.
“He called me personally and said he wanted to apologize for his absence last year and what that did to the team,” said Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ player representative at a union that has a “joint” drug deal with them MLB has. “For me, that showed me the character of my teammate. He wanted to call us one by one and apologize. He knows he screwed up. I told him I’m a big guy for forgiveness and that he called me and told me that told me everything I needed to know and he has my forgiveness. And now what was in the past is in the past and we’re moving from here and all I care about is the teammate and the player you are from this point forward.
New Mets reliever Adam Ottavino, the when a Yankee faced Cano In a 2020 at-bat, he said: “As a teammate, you generally try to judge as much as you can, although you might feel like you’re trying to back that off a bit for the greater good. Yes, no doubt. It’s tough. I don’t know if there is a good answer for this [handling this].”
But as Showalter noted, assume because for the Mets, the other options are to defy the basic agreement and not pay Cano, or to destroy the team from the inside by making him an outcast.
For example, Cano spoke to select team-mates over the phone during the off-season and asked and was granted the opportunity to speak to the entire club on Monday, and spoke to reporters on Wednesday for the first time since his suspension. He stuck to the talking points of apologizing and having no excuses, promising to try to make things right for everyone – fans, teammates, etc. It was general, few specifics, and now we’ll all move on.
I’m sure those who attend games at Citi Field hate the idea of steroids in sports. But what do you do for the first time Cano Homer? I have an orange-blue idea.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/16/mets-robinson-cano-the-latest-steroid-double-standard/ Mets’ Robinson Cano is the latest steroid double standard