Jimmy Fallon does some keen social experiments disguised as man-on-the-street bits for "The Tonight Show," and this one featuring Robinson Cano is genuinely funny. It might not be as hilarious as the one Matt Harvey of the Mets did around the All-Star break, when he interviewed people who had no idea who he was. But this vignette with Cano is a terrific study in how people say one thing behind your back and another to your face. It's also a solid take on what happens sometimes in the comments section of an internet post and, to a degree, in email or social media. People can get pretty bold on the World Wide Web, don't you know?
It's nothing for fans to boo a cardboard cutout of Cano, who returns to Yankee Stadium for the first time Tuesday night since signing with the Seattle Mariners in the offseason for $240 million. And, with the safety of being in the stands for the game, it won't take that much gumption for fans to boo him in person, either, if they choose.
"I am going to boo the [stuffing] out of him," one fan tells Fallon's emissary before yelling, "Boo! You stink!" to a larger-than-life poster of Cano in a Mariners uniform.
But what happens when Cano appears from behind the poster? The fan changes his tune.
"Hi, Robbie, welcome back to New York!"
And so it went for several fans, including one guy who did a complete 180 upon meeting Cano in person:
"I won't actually boo you. I'm going to be rooting for you play well but not win."
It also appeared to be fun for Cano, who went into the exercise being told it was like "booing practice" for both sides, to help prepare for the game. Hiding inside of a cardboard box and hearing one fan after another give him the business had to be hilarious. And then to see the surprised looks on their faces and listening to the backpedaling? It must have been easy to say yes to that skit.
It's not the first time Cano has had to brace himself for a campaign of booing fans. After he went back on his word to pick hometown guy Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game, fans at Kauffman Stadium booed Cano throughout the event.
The only way the Fallon skit would have been funnier is if one of the fans had kept on booing Cano after he appeared in person. That would be a True Yankee Fan, or at least an idealist's version. But you know? It also would be nice to be surprised and hear a majority of fans cheer and applaud Cano. Yeah, he "took the money" and "is a traitor (or a trader)" and all of that, and it's also fun to boo sometimes.
Players "take the money" all of the time and come to New York. So, the Yankees lost one — so what? They'll survive. Cheering for Cano for all of the good times would surprise the heck out of a lot of people. Not that New Yorkers have a reputation for caring about what other people think of them. All right, never mind.
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