Robinson Cano is getting major play in two national magazines, GQ and Sports Illustrated, coming out in the next week.
Cano is on one of four regional covers in Sports Illustrated’s baseball preview that was in my mailbox Thursday. He’s doing what Mariners fans hope he’ll do often this season – getting the barrel of the bat on the ball – with the headline, “The Cano Show: The game’s best second baseman is center stage in Seattle.”
Greg Bishop, a former Seattle Times reporter, wrote the SI cover story. He raises many of the same questions others have been asking for months: Can Cano hit for power in cavernous Safeco Field? Can he jump start a woeful franchise in need of a jolt on the field and in the stands? And why can’t the Mariner Moose fist bump? (You’ll have to read Bishop’s excellent article to understand the last one.)
Writes Bishop: This is Cano’s new job description: Hit for average and hit for power, play high-quality defense at second base, mentor younger teammates, lure free agents, lift dwindled attendance, film commercials, make appearances, embrace a new community, restore relevance, win games, make the playoffs, contend for championships. Save baseball in Seattle, more or less.
SI’s other covers were of the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina and the Yankees’ Mashiro Tanaka. Sports Illustrated, by the way, picks the Mariners to finish fourth in the five team American League West and ranks them 11th in the AL.
GQ’s Daniel Riley, like Bishop, traveled to the Dominican Republic for the Cano story.
A few excerpts:
On playing for the Yankees: “It’s like growing up playing in your backyard. You never want to leave that place, those guys. The three high points as a Yankee for me: when Jeter got 3,000 hits, Andy’s last game, and Mariano’s final ceremony. Those are the things that stick in your mind, in your heart.”
On signing with Jay Z/Roc Nation Sports: “I just wanted someone who would be there after the deal, who’d treat me less like a job and more like family.”
On growing up in San Pedro: “My grandma used to pitch to me. Hit rocks with a broomstick. Grew up in a family that was baseball — and, you know, I was good.”
“All you’ve got is baseball — that’s your shot to get to the States.”
And guess who graces the cover of The Seattle Times’ Mariners preview? How’d you guess? We’ll have more on that later, but look for the 12-page section focused on Cano and his sweet swing in Sunday’s Seattle Times.
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