Cano’s candid revelations underscore his Juan Soto relationship

Yankees slugger Juan Soto is at Tampa's spring training facility on February 21, 2024.
Sara Molnick
Friday February 23, 2024

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A heartwarming moment unfolded during the World Baseball Classic when young star Juan Soto found himself in a wardrobe predicament. The pants provided for his Dominican Republic uniform were a bit too snug. Luckily, teammate and idol Robinson Cano, known for his fashion sense both on and off the field, came to the rescue.

Cano, proving even legends put their pants on one leg at a time, offered Juan Soto a spare pair, allowing him to comfortably compete in the four games played by the Dominican team. But the story doesn’t end there.

After the Dominican Republic’s elimination, Juan Soto approached Cano with a unique request. Beyond a simple autograph, he asked his idol to personalize the borrowed pants, turning them into a cherished memento.

Graciously, Cano obliged, transforming the ordinary uniform pants into a treasure trove of memories. He inscribed various accomplishments on the fabric, including “World Series champion,” “Home Run Derby champion,” and “8-time All-Star,” immortalizing Juan Soto’s admiration and forever linking the two generations of Dominican baseball stars.

This heartwarming exchange goes beyond conventional thinking. It highlights the camaraderie and mentorship within the baseball community, especially between a rising star and a beloved veteran. The personalized pants serve as a tangible reminder of Cano’s generosity and Juan Soto’s respect, becoming a unique souvenir from a special tournament.

Cano conveyed over the phone from his native Dominican that it was one of the coolest moments for him because one of the best players in the game wanted his autograph. He mentioned that he was once one of Juan Soto’s idols, but now he’s become a big fan of the slugger because he loves watching him play.


Juan Soto names Cano as his idol

At a recent press conference, Juan Soto openly acknowledged his longstanding admiration for Robinson Cano, calling him his idol during his formative years. Playing alongside Cano on the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic held immense significance for Juan Soto. He even mentioned cherishing a text message of encouragement received from Cano in December after his trade to the Yankees.

Despite past controversies, Cano remains a revered figure among Dominican baseball players. Recognizing the importance of this connection for Juan Soto, efforts were made to reach out to Cano for his perspective.

New York Yankees Alex Verdugo, Aaron Judge and Juan Soto at Yankees Spring Training 2024
Instagram/ Yankees

Cano, himself a product of Dominican baseball lineage, emphasizes the importance of mentorship. He fondly remembers his own admiration for Bernie Williams during his youth, even wearing Williams’ number 51 jersey in the minor leagues as a tribute. Sharing the field with Williams during his first two major league seasons remains a treasured memory for Cano.

Cano remarked that Juan Soto embodies the ideal player for New York. He described the slugger as someone who avoids controversy, remains focused on his game, and strives for excellence. Cano also noted the southpaw’s unmistakable confidence on the field, a trait commonly observed in superstar players who possess a deep belief in their abilities. This confidence, according to Cano, was evident from the first time he witnessed Juan Soto play.

From admiration to shared experience

The bond between Juan Soto and Robinson Cano extends beyond their recent shared experience on the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team. Their connection has roots in Juan Soto’s early admiration for Cano and continues through their professional encounters.

Cano first reached out to Juan Soto after the latter’s impressive rookie season in 2018, offering encouragement and mentorship. Their paths subsequently crossed on the field when Cano played for the New York Mets from 2019 to 2020, coinciding with the slugger’s tenure with the Washington Nationals. However, their on-field interactions were disrupted by Cano’s suspension in 2021.

Despite challenges in his playing career last season, Cano remained active in baseball. He participated in winter ball for his hometown team in the Dominican Republic and joined the ownership group of a new league based in Dubai. While a formal retirement announcement hasn’t arrived, it seems unlikely that the 41-year-old will return to the major leagues this year. Nevertheless, his passion for the game remains strong.

As a 14-year-old, Juan Soto looked up to Cano’s playing style and was particularly inspired by Cano’s MVP performance in the Dominican Republic’s WBC championship win. This moment left a lasting impression on the young aspiring player, laying the foundation for the admiration and connection they share today.

Robinson Cano with the Yankees in 2013.

Their recent collaboration on the WBC team further solidified their bond, creating a shared experience that transcends individual accomplishments. This connection signifies the passing of the torch within Dominican baseball, where young talents like Juan Soto draw inspiration from established veterans like Cano.

Cano remarked that Juan Soto would be joining the top team, emphasizing that the New York Yankees provide everything a player desires. He expressed his belief that in New York, the primary expectation is to be prepared and to give maximum effort on the field. Cano anticipated that the fans would warmly welcome Soto from the outset.

Regarding Juan Soto’s contract situation, Cano suggested that he might find it appealing to remain with the team, especially considering that it’s his contract’s final year. Cano envisioned players like Aaron Judge providing support and guidance to the slugger, emphasizing that the Yankees roster appears to comprise a cohesive group of individuals who would readily embrace Juan Soto and integrate him into their team culture.

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