Queens, NY: Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with Robinson Canó, a special baseball player who I also consider a friend.
When I arrived at the Mets locker room, the first player I meet was Robinson Canó (His locker is the first one closest to the door). He was surprised to see me and yells out my name, “JULIO PABON” as we have not seen each other since the press conference to announce his signing with the Mets. After going through our normal personal formalities asking about each other’s families and his adjustment to Queens’s life we walked over to Jeurys Familia & Edwin Díaz locker. Familia and Edwin both know me, and Latino Sports. Familia remembers the special awards luncheon in his honor for winning the 2016 NL Closer of the Year and Díaz for getting a special recognition for his playing with the Puerto Rico National Team in the World Baseball Classic. I took the opportunity to discuss the LatinoMVP Closer award that Díaz won for his 2018 season. Familia mentioned to Díaz how much he cherished his award. When both mentioned their awards I reminded them that Cano had won the AL LatinoMVP rookie award in 2005. Cano laughed and said, “Get ready cause I’m going to win me another award this year.”
Robinson and I have known each other since his rookie season in the Bronx when he always insisted that I translate for him. We also worked together when he asked me to help him get an ambulance for his town, San Pedro de Marcoris. That year Robinson lost a close friend who died in a motorcycle accident when there was no ambulance to take his friend to the hospital. They had to transport his friend in a pickup truck to the local hospital. When they got to the hospital his friend had passed.
That incident affected the young rookie and he wanted to help change that and asked me for help. Together we worked on that project for months and I was able to help him get his ambulance thanks to the generosity of Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center and several other entities. However, that project brought a rookie player and a South Bronx sports and community activist closer together. I was touched then when a young rookie was so affected by his friend’s death that he wanted to do something about it. I was impressed with that young Robinson Canó who was comfortable stepping out of his baseball comfort zone to a South Bronx community and help make a difference for his town. Since that day, Robinson has always had respect and a special place in my heart.
The following year Canó was awarded the AL LatinoMVP Rookie of the Year and henceforward Canó has been the star player that all the scouts had touted when the Yankees first signed him.
I was constantly in communication with him and he with me all the way to the last day when he decided to take the Seattle Mariners offer against my advice and thus I was sad to see him leave the Yankees and the Boogie Down Bronx.
However. Life has many interesting twists and turns and Canó is back in the city where he first started his career. He started in the Bronx and will probably end his career in Queens.
All New York Mets and Yankee baseball fans (who still root and love Canó) are happy to have this down to earth class A baseball player back in our city.
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