There is just so much to love about this story, so please indulge me. The family bond piece is only the beginning.
Dashing in and out of the house last night between soccer practice, a baseball game, a soccer game, and dinner, I managed to catch a gripping piece of tv. The Major League Baseball Home Run Derby. Always a fan favorite that captures the attention of even the passing observer. Being hard core sports fans in our house, there was no question about our viewing options on this night!
A truly signature storyline began emerging in what was otherwise a fairly ho-hum affair. What’s more, millions of people had a front row seat to this incredible drama.
A father pitching to his son. 49-year-old Jose Cano, a former pitcher in the major leagues lobbing baseballs at his son, 29-year-old Robinson Cano, a star shortstop for the New York Yankees, and named after Jose’s idol, the great, Jackie Robinson. No pressure there!
When Robinson was reluctant at first about asking his father to pitch to him because of “nerves”. Both Cano’s exuded nothing but calm on the mound and at the plate, with the father and son team combining for 32 homeruns.
When he tied the score, father and son embraced – the old-fashioned big bear hug variety — with Robinson saying, “I love you dad” — plainly visible whether you have a degree in lip-reading or not.
Then came history.
With his father methodically throwing baseballs to his son, Robinson ripped his 12th homer of the final round to win the derby. His reaction was truly priceless as he was lifted by teammates before falling into the embrace of his father.
The younger Cano was quoted as saying afterwards, “The best thing wasn’t my swing. It was th ekind of man who was throwing — my dad. He knows me really well.” Even in a television interview during the derby, Robinson praised his father. How refreshing.
There are so many wonderful storylines here. In the world of professional sports, the chances of hearing of athletes who grew up in single-family homes, who never knew their fathers, whose fathers abandoned the family, etc., are not the exception — they are increasingly the rule. How refreshing to have a story of a family of professional baseball players who respect each other and are demonstrative about that respect.
The relationship between many fathers and sons is not always outward or visible. It sometimes can be downright invisible. It’s often based on what’s not said, rather than what is. How refreshing to see the Cano and Cano combination convey their respect for each other in such a profoundly public way — verbally, physcially, emotionally.
Jose Cano has played a vital role in Robinson’s career, but if you watch any part of last nights’ derby again, you might get the feeling that it was the first time for father and son. The focus on each of their faces was so complete, you would have thought they were the only two in the room.
Pride was evident not only on the father’s face, but on his son’s as well.
And let’s not forget his mom, Claribel Mercedes, also on hand to share in the family’s joy.