Following Sunday afternoon’s win over the Rangers, the Mariners went to 10-14, but still sit just two games ahead of the lowly Astros for last place in the AL West. There are plenty of reasons why second baseman Robinson Cano might have regrets after signing a ten-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners back in December, particularly since he could have gotten the same years and the same money elsewhere.
Cano, though, seems quite content. Via Newsday’s Anthony Rieber:
“I like it here,” the now-bearded Cano said. “It’s nice. The team’s really nice. I like the team, the city. Playing baseball, the fans, it’s really nice. Here it’s more relaxed. It’s not as intense as New York. In New York, when the game is over, everyone is looking at what’s wrong. Here we don’t have that.”
Cano makes his return to the Bronx on Tuesday when the Mariners are in town to play the Yankees. He’ll likely hear plenty of boos from fans who either didn’t like his perceived lack of hustle while wearing Yankee pinstripes, or who now view him as a turncoat for following the money out of New York. But it will only be Cano’s problem from April 28 to May 1. Beyond that, he won’t have to hear it from the Bronx faithful until next season.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.