- Last Updated: 9:31 AM, April 2, 2012
- Posted: 9:31 AM, April 2, 2012
One arrived in a moment of crisis, the other at a time when his new teammates were still brushing confetti out of their hair, trying to rid their pores of the smell of stale champagne.
One is a natural, playing with the ease and rare gifts of a man so confident in his abilities they seem as natural to him as breathing and blinking do to you and I; the other is constantly tinkering, constantly toying, constantly grinding away at a grinding game, believing there is no problem too grand you can’t outwork it.
Together, they serve as both the beating heart and the overriding soul of the New Murderers’ Row, the biggest bats in the baddest lineup in baseball, men who could set the table if they had to and deliver the bacon if they had to and sometimes find themselves having to do a little bit of both. They are a ballplayer’s son from the Dominican Republic and the son of two teachers from the Chicago suburbs, two divergent paths converging in the teeth of the Yankees’ batting order.
“We have a lot of expectations,” Robinson Cano says, “and that’s OK. Our teammates should be able to count on us.”
“We know that our lineup can cause a lot of problems when we’re all clicking,” Curtis Granderson says. “And when Robbie and I are doing what we know we’re capable of doing -- getting on base, taking extra bases, setting up the other guys, driving them in when they’re on base in front of us -- we’re going to win a lot of baseball games.”
They were fourth place (Granderson) and sixth place (Cano) in the American League MVP race last season, and at any given time during the course of the year when either or both were carrying the Yankees -- and that happened a lot -- you easily could have pictured either one taking home the hardware.
Fifty years after the M&M Boys had chased Babe Ruth all across another Yankees summer, the C&C Guys -- Curtis and Cano -- took turns anchoring a Yankees lineup that scored 867 runs, the second-most in all of baseball.
Together they accounted for more than a quarter of the Yankees’ runs scored (240) and driven in (237); they combined for 69 home runs and 158 extra-base hits.
“Together,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, “they give us two of the best hitters you’ll ever see and the best part is this: both of them want more. Both of them want to be better. And both of them are guys who will stop at nothing to get better.”
It wasn’t as if Robinson Cano was an unknown entity. Signed by the Yankees at age 18 out of the Dominican, he was named after Jackie Robinson and reared by a father, Jose, who got six games in The Show with the Astros in 1989. He hit .278 in parts of six minor league seasons, but by the spring of 2005 he’d finally hit his stride, hitting .333 at Columbus, collecting 24 RBIs in 24 games.Follow @NYPostsports