Aroldis Chapman is trying to assimilate

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Aroldis Chapman in reds uni.jpgJohn Fay writes about Aroldis Chapman’s efforts to learn the language and get used to life in the U.S.  A couple of interesting passages:

The Reds are in uncharted territory. Players from the Dominican and
Venezuela get assimilated before they get near the big leagues. Johnny
Cueto was in the Reds’ system for four years before he was invited to
big league camp. Four weeks after signing, Chapman was in camp and
in the spotlight.

I get the point, but I wonder if there aren’t some hidden advantages to breaking in cold with the big club.  If you’re not as familiar with the language and the culture might you be more immune to talk radio and columnist blather when things don’t go well? Might it not be easier for a Spanish speaker to navigate a largish, major league-size city than a smaller town?  The Reds’ affiliates are in Louisville, Kentucky, Zebulon, North Carolina, Lynchburg, Virginia, Dayton, Ohio and Billings, Montana. I think the odds are better that the cab driver or the woman behind the counter in Cincy speaks Spanish than their counterparts in Zebulon.

Until Chapman gets a Social Security card and a driver’s license, he
has to rely on [Tony] Fossas and others for most everything. “He’s got to
ask people what to do,” Fossas said. “All those things, you get tired
of. You get tired of depending on people. You get tired of people taking
you to the park. If you’re hungry at 9 o’clock at night and you want to
go to McDonald’s, what does he do?”

First thing he does is to call the hotline the Reds will set up for him that will keep their $30 million investment from ingesting food from McDonald’s. If that doesn’t work, hey, the menu consists of pictures of food next to numbers. I’m pretty sure even Chapman can figure that out.

The other day in the clubhouse a teammate was teaching Chapman the days
of the week.

Anyone else picturing Appolonia Corleone right before she got in the car to show Michael she can drive? (“. . .Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Saturday . . “).   Aroldis! No!

The Reds are well-equipped to help Chapman. Baker and pitching coach
Bryan Price speak Spanish. Catcher Ramon Hernandez, who lockers beside
Chapman, is from Venezuela. Bullpen coach Porky Lopez is from Puerto
Rico.

Two things to take from this article: (1) The Reds sound like they’re doing right by Aroldis Chapman; and (2) The Reds have a coach named Porky Lopez, which is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

I will now be rooting for the Reds in all non-Braves games this season.

White Sox rookie Nicky Delmonico overcame an Adderall addiction

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There have been a couple of notable instances of players who have dealt with Addrerall addiction in recent years. A few months back we learned that Aubrey Huff suffered from it. Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who has ADD, once had a therapeutic use exemption for Adderall, let it lapse to go off of the drug, but then “in a moment of weakness” returned to it, resulting in a suspension back in 2014.

The latest: White Sox rookie slugger Nicky Delmonico, who has made a splash since his callup, hitting six homers and posting a line of .329/.434/.614 in 20 games. His road here, however, was a difficult one. When he was with the Brewers organization he was suspended for “amphetamine” use. Turns out it was Adderall. And, according to today’s story in the Tribune, it turns out that the circumstances were similar to Davis’:

Delmonico feared the label of drug cheat would impede his path to the majors, his goal since he was a bat boy for the University of Tennessee, where his dad, Rod, coached from 1990-2007. He figured nobody would care to learn the real story; that he became conditioned to taking Adderall, which MLB had approved for medical purposes, but decided to come off the drug before the 2014 season so not to become overly dependent.

“But then I couldn’t not take it,” Delmonico said.

Withdrawal symptoms changed the young man with the infectious personality. His moods swung. Suddenly, Delmonico craved the way he used to feel.

Delmonico was released by the Brewers when he came off suspension and signed by the Sox. They told him to take his time coming back, and as he did, he went to rehab. The rest is history. And just the beginning of history, if his fast start is any indication of how he’ll do in the bigs going forward.

Well done, Delmonico. It’s rare to come back from such adversity, but here’s hoping for your continued success as you enter the prime of your career.

David Wright went 0-for-4 in his rehab debut

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David Wright started at DH and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his rehab debut with High-A St. Lucie last night.

The results are not all that important compared to the fact that Wright actually played in a game. Wright acknowledged as much afterward, saying “There’s still quite a bit to go to where I want to be, but it was a good first step.” Wright said he “felt pretty good,” and that while he’d like to see better results as soon as possible, he’s happy just being out there right now.

Wright is shooting to join the Mets for the final few weeks of the 2017 regular season after being out of action since May of 2016 with back and neck ailments. It’s hard not to root for the guy.