|Jose Reyes may be on the cover of ESPN Magazine this week, but there’s another 23-year-old Dominican infielder in New York that deserves a heaping helping of praise.
I am, of course, referring to dear Robby Cano, NYY second baseman and hitter extraordinaire. Where would the Yankees be without him? In case you’ve forgotten (and who could blame you, I try to block it out as well), the Yanks were paying Mr. Tony Womack to jack up double plays and strike out for a solid month before we saw Cano last year, and I shudder to think of what their record may have been had the Yanks continued to trust TW.
Cano had a great rookie year, turning 77 double plays and hitting .297 in 2005, but it is his 2006 performance that has everyone buying #22 jerseys (Yankees Chick included). He has been absolutely amazing all season, hitting well enough to draw comparisons to Hall of Famer Rod Carew and make a run for the batting title. Even after missing 6 weeks with a bum hamstring, Cano has knocked in over 70 runs and has hit 40 doubles and 15 homers. His OBP is pretty dismal—he’s walked just 18 times all season, and I’m pretty sure that at least 13 of those were due to dust in the home plate umpire’s eyes—but with a .343 batting average I’m willing to make some oversights.
If his numbers aren’t enough to win you over as a devotee, perhaps his humanitarian efforts will impress you. He’s become a regular visitor at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in New York over the past 2 seasons and even visited a hospital in Florida when the Yankees were in town for spring training, and he has donated lots of baseball equipment to communities in his home country. Cano’s community service even inspired one of Big Stein’s assistants to write a children’s book about Cano and a young cancer patient he met at the Children’s Hospital (right, although I'm not sure why the illustrator chose to portray Cano as a middle-aged white man)!
With the Yanks’ playing the best ball they’ve played in years, Cano’s feats have almost been overshadowed by all the Abreu walks and Jeter hit-streaks. The whole lineup has really pulled together to put the Yankees on top of the division, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from singling out Robby as one of the most exciting players to watch in the league. Come on, ESPN: give the kid a cover.
Labels: accolades, do-gooders