Sunday, December 8, 2013

Front Row Seating and a Farewell to Cano

I showered twice Saturday, once of my own choosing, once not. My morning shower was part of my daily ablutions. Nothing unusual about that.

My second shower took place shortly after 8 pm as I sat in the first row of the Playwrights Horizons main stage theater on 42nd Street in Manhattan. Last week, you may recall, I recounted one of the hazards of front row theater seats when Rosencrantz, or was it Guildenstern, slipped off the stage onto my lap during a performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Saturday night I was initiated into another peril of Row A seating. One of the actors was particularly energetic in his vocalizations. He projected more than just words. I was shocked the first time he appeared before me and sprayed forth from the lip of the stage. I was more or less ready the next time he stood before me. I cowered in my seat to reduce my exposure.

Fortunately, he next chose to deliver a long, excitable monologue from the center of the edge of the stage, affording me a profile scan of his features and an arced view of his projectile strength. To those sitting before him it must have felt as if they had a front row seat at Sea World without the benefit of plastic raincoats to protect them from Shamu’s exuberance.

It's an unfortunate byproduct of elocution for some actors. Indeed, in one scene where the sprayer and another thespian held drinks as they stood face to face, I observed the second actor place his right hand across the mouth of his glass to shield it from any more liquid enhancing his drink.

All in all, just another night at the theater.

It was a New York Yankees baseball cap like many others, different only in that it was a promotional hat embroidered with the name of the sponsor—Canon—across the center of the back. Its potential struck me immediately. I gifted the hat to our daughter-in-law Allison who realized right away that with a little deft unstitching she could change the Canon hat into an homage to her favorite Yankee, Robinson Cano. 

Despite living in the Boston area for the last 16 years, Allison remains a die-hard Yankees fan. I tried to text or call whenever Cano made a highlight reel play, in the field or at bat, that contributed to a Yankees win. There won’t be anymore of those calls now that Cano has opted to sign a free agency deal with the Seattle Mariners for 10 years and a reported $240 million. 

I’ll miss seeing Cano turn double plays with seemingly little effort, race into short right field with his back to the diamond to basket catch a fly ball as it dropped over his shoulder, range far to his right to snare a hot shot up the middle and accurately cannonball a throw to first base to deny a batter a base hit. I’ll miss how easily he could flick his bat and deposit a single or double to left field, or when the team really needed it, pull a pitch into the right field seats for a home run. I wish him success, though not when he’s facing the Yankees.   

I can’t blame him for turning down the New York proposal of seven years for $175 million. Nor can I fault the Yankees for not matching the Mariners’ offer. Baseball is a business. Cano is a superstar. But even before Cano was a superstar, before he made his first million-dollar-a-year salary, Cano revealed the true measure of his impact as a human being. Cano bought an ambulance for his impoverished home town in the Dominican Republic. He has since donated eight ambulances, medical supplies, paramedic crew training and children's toys and has plans to finance and build a hospital.