Yankees fans will probably boo Robinson Cano. And it doesn’t matter one way or the other.

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I used to have some strong opinions about when it’s OK to boo or not OK to boo. And I still think that some instances of booing are worse than others depending on the circumstances. But I’ve changed my mind about booing pretty substantially over the past couple of years and refuse to get all that worked up about it anymore.

Personally, I rarely if ever boo someone — or if I do, I do it somewhat ironically — but I’m mostly done caring if other fans boo someone. When you compare it to the intensely personal things about players and their character that some fans will say in comment threads, some sports writers will write in their columns or some talk radio guys will bark over the air, booing looks like a pretty minor act. It may be worth noting with amusement — I expect to continue to write amused “[Team’s] fans booed [Person]” posts in the future — but seriously taking fans to task for booing or not booing someone seems kinda silly to me now.

Booing is not nearly as personal an act as it’s often portrayed as being in the sporting press. Look no further than the Robinson Cano/Jimmy Fallon bit from last night. Fans booed a cardboard cutout of Robinson Cano and then immediately changed their tune when the real Cano came out. It was pretty inspired, pretty funny and it gave us a bit of insight, I think, into the nature of booing. Maybe it’s not the most polite thing ever, but a given fan’s investment in booing is so fleeting and minor. I’d guess 90% of the people who do it at a ballpark do it because other people started doing it and group activities are fun. I’d also guess that the negative impulse to boo someone is gone before the guy in question has taken his first pitch. It’s just a thing you do at the ballpark sometimes. Like the chicken dance.

Which brings us to tonight’s Mariners-Yankees game. Cano is back in New York for the first time since signing with the Mariners, and the topic of whether or not Yankees fans should boo him is floating around on talk radio and on the web today. If I was a Yankees fan I’d probably not because, like I said, my baseline is generally not to boo and Cano didn’t do anything wrong or evil that would make me change my feelings about that.

But I expect he will be booed and I really don’t care. If it happens it’ll be a generalized “you don’t wear the same laundry” boo that runs about as deep as an Arizona creek. It won’t be based on real animus or a set of misguided ethics. It won’t be aimed at a person who is fragile or a stranger to big crowds and intense feeling. It’s Robinson Cano. I suspect he can handle it.

No, New York players do not get an unfair bump in Hall of Fame voting

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Angels owner Arte Moreno said something interesting yesterday. He was talking about the retired former Angel, Garret Anderson, and said “If he would have played in New York, he’d be in the Hall of Fame.”

The initial — and, I would add, the most on-point — response to this is to note that, for however good a player Anderson was at times, no definition of the term “Hall of Famer” really encompasses his legacy. He was OK. Pretty good on occasion. Nowhere near a Hall of Famer, and I don’t think you need me to go over the math to establish that. The only way Anderson would ever sniff the Hall of Fame one day is if we sent Tony La Russa back in time to manage him for several years and then brought him back from the past to strong-arme the Veterans Committee.

The more interesting question to me is the matter implied in Moreno’s comment: that players in New York get an unfair boost when it comes to the Hall of Fame.

I get why he might say that and I get why people might believe it. New York gets all the press. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere and, my God, people in New York will not let you forget it for a second. East Coast Bias™ and all of that.

Except it’s baloney, at least as far as the Hall of Fame goes.

I think it’s fair to say that, yes, if you play in New York, your reputation gets elevated more than if you played elsewhere, but I think there are limits to that what that elevation gets you. You’re more famous if you knock in 100 as the third-best guy on a Yankees team or if you are involved in a notable game or series or controversy as a Met, but it doesn’t mean you get some extra helping hand from the BBWAA five years after you retire.

At least one guy I know, Adam Darowski, has taken a rough look at this on the numbers. He has determined that, by at least his measure, Yankees players are the fourth most underrepresented contingent in Hall of Fame voting. Red Sox are fifth. Mets are in the middle of the pack. It may be more useful to think of this without reference to any numbers, though, and look at it in terms of who is and who isn’t getting some sort of unfair bump.

If there was a New York Premium to Hall of Fame consideration, wouldn’t Bernie Williams, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Elston Howard, Don Mattingly, Roger Maris, Jorge Posada, David Cone, John Franco, Keith Hernandez, Andy Pettitte and a bunch of other guys of that caliber get more support than they’ve historically gotten? I’m not saying all of those guys deserve to be in the Hall, but they all have better cases than Garret Anderson and none of them got in or appear to be getting in any time soon. They are close enough on the merits that, one would think anyway, an aura of New Yorkness surrounding them would have carried them over the line, but it never did.

Meanwhile, almost all of the most borderline Hall of Famers are old, old, old timers who were either poorly assessed by the Veterans Committee or who had the good fortune of being good friends with Frankie Frisch. Again, not a ton of Yankees make that cut. A whole lot of Giants do, but I suppose that’s another conversation. The questionable Hall of Famers of more recent vintage represent guys from all over the big league map. The only Yankee I can think of in relatively recent years who raised eyebrows was Catfish Hunter, and I suspect more of that was based on his legacy with the A’s than with the Yankees, where he really only had one great season.

Here’s what I think happens, practically, with New York players: If you play in New York, merely good and notable performance makes you huge in the moment and in casual remembrance, but your historical legacy is often written down a bit as a function of overall team success. Also — or, maybe, alternatively — it’s a matter of every good Yankees era being defined by such a big meagstar — Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Reggie, Jeter — that the really good, even Hall of Fame-worthy guys who played with them are overlooked to some degree. Which, when you think about it, kinda sucks even worse for them because their megastar teammate is, thanks to the rings, in some ways getting elevated by team success while the lesser stars are denigrated because of it.

Which is not to say that we should cry for New York players. Paul O’Neill will never have to pay for a steak dinner in Manhattan for the rest of his life and, thanks to all of his friends in the press, Andy Pettitte’s obituary won’t mention his PED use at all while Barry Bonds’ obit will mention it in the first graf. It’s getting to the point where if you can simply avoid infamy and not suck for a five-year stretch you can get your number retired and a place in Monument Park.

But New York players aren’t getting unfair consideration in Hall of Fame voting. Indeed, I think they’re probably getting graded a bit too harshly.