Columnists: Fans shouldn’t call Cano a greedy sellout. That’s OUR job!

38 Comments

I’m amused by the Yankees fans who chanted “SELL OUT!” at Robinson Cano last night because if they actually believe that they’re pretty oblivious about the team they root for. But I pretty much stop at amusement. Fans can say what they want and, as I said yesterday, whether you boo or jeer isn’t exactly a big deal. It’s certainly not the stuff of genuine outrage. The most it inspires me to do is to smile, make a wisecrack and move on.

The New York columnists are a tad more miffed at this. Or at least they’re pretending to be today in an effort to fill column inches. Joel Sherman says it was wrong, wrong wrong for fans to boo Cano. Bob Klapisch has a lecture ready too. He calls fans “misguided” for booing Cano and called the booing and jeering “classless.” Then he decided to lecture the plebes in the cheap seats:

Cano didn’t sell out – he made the only possible move. There isn’t a single Yankee, let alone a Bleacher Creature, who would’ve done otherwise. That’s the other lesson that apparently needs to be taught in the Stadium’s hinterlands. The ballplayers you root for are businessman surrounded by agents, lawyers and accountants. They are capitalists nurturing their No. 1 asset, their careers. All of them – yes, even Derek Jeter – play baseball for the money. Cano is no better or worse than his peers. He did nothing wrong by picking the Mariners over the Yankees.

Get that? Don’t call Cano a sellout. If you do, you simply don’t get it and, in any event, you are in no position to judge.  Which would be an awesome message if Klapisch himself didn’t write this back in December when Cano signed with the M’s, under the headline “Robinson Cano deal was all about the money”

Cano is gone, having chosen the Mariners for the coldest reason of all – they made him richer than the Yankees ever would . . . Yankee fans can rightfully call Cano a mercenary, but what law did he break?”

To be fair to Klapisch, it’s not a 100% inconsistent column. He said then, as now, that it’s a business. And that Cano’s leaving had just as much to do with the Yankees’ miscalculations as Cano’s greed. But he is very sharp with Cano about said greed, saying Cano “got his wish for enough cash to run a fund a third-world economy,” saying that his contract negotiations were all about him “shopping at an ATM” and making it clear that, by going to Seattle, he has tarnished his legacy, has shown he’s not interested in winning and has ceased to be relevant as a baseball player.

All things which, if the Bleacher Creatures could reduce them to signs and chants last night, Klapisch himself would likely be condemning today. For you see, fans sitting out in “the hinterlands” aren’t qualified to makes such judgments about ballplayers. Only credentialed columnists are.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.