Chicago, the Windy City, Chicago, city of skyscrapers. Chicago, the city where the “famous” Al Capone built his own Mafia empire, back in the 20s in the last century. Chicago, city surrendered in April 2014 to the talent of Cuban players José Dariel Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo.
Can this last adagio stay for the coming five months?
That would be like playing Russian roulette. And in a sport like baseball, filled with so much quality, injuries, penalties and low yields is wise not to start spreading the good news. But what we cannot do is ignore that the trio of Cubans has changed the face of the Chicago White Sox in MLB during the present season in just beyond its first 30 games.
The team, based in the south of the third city in the U.S. hierarchy looks like a fetish at the feet of the Cubans. No matter how cold, no matter what the sun does not rise for these rainy days of April and May, no matter what it costs in that city to find Cuban food, no matter the distance. Chicago keeps its gratitude to Orestes ” Minnie ” Minoso ; the ‘ Titan ‘ José Ariel Contreras and Orlando ” El Duque ” Hernandez.
Now, Abreu , Ramirez and Viciedo want to emulate their countrymen and record their names in golden letters in the history of the controversial team .
Little was expected in 2014 from the White Sox, a franchise that in less than 10 years went from the sublime to the ridiculous. From Champions in the World Series in 2005, they sank to archive 99 losses in 2013 to finish 27th among the 30 MLB teams playing.
However, history is written every day and no on penalties or glories harvested in the past. That is now the job of the three Cubans who are hitting at will during the first month of the MLB season.
In the American League, famous for having in its ranks reckless and zany sluggers; the three Cubans lead in homers, RBIs, slugging, doubles and average, among other batting stats
Of course, this entire Cuban hullabaloo Creole could change in late May. Most likely we will see a decline in their offensive statistics. Logic suggests it . But…
What if all three keep pace? José Dariel Abreu threatens the homerun record –Mark McGwire 49 in 1987 – for a player in his rookie season? If Ramirez fights, elbow to elbow, the batting title against the sensational Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera or Joe Mauer ? What if Viciedo stops being still a promise and becomes a reality?
Renowned journalists, specialists and statisticians in the MLB already draw slips and search data in advanced computers to predict the performance of the three Cubans. But that is not 100 % safe. In baseball, as mentioned at the beginning of work converge numerous factors that can alter the overnight performance of the best hitters on the planet. If you don’t believe me look at the pale antics of Miguel Cabrera in the month of April; and talk about a “extra class “, winner of the last three batting titles and two MVP awards in 2012 and 2013.
Abreu was highly contested before the first game because they doubted the actual quality shown by him in Cuban baseball, now that he could face in two days aces of the mound as Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, then decrypt pitches by great James Shields. Result: a homerun off Verlander, broke the home run and RBIS for a rookie in his first month in the MLB and has a fabulous 617 slugging before this May 2.
Ramirez was the worst defensive shortstop of all the majors in 2013 and it was anticipated that he would work with his glove to clean the image this year, something that experts can subtract weight to his batting, which has never been over .300 average. Result: today he hits 5th in the lineup in most games and finished April with .351, statistics worthy of Play Station video game.
Talking about Viciedo’s like doing it on a one-dimensional man or like him for his strength at bat, or do not like him for his low average, his periods of slump and his mediocre defense. It is an all or nothing player. And the “experts” did not predict him a good season. But once again they missed the shot. Outcome: immovable in the lineup, batting 4th or 5th depending if the pitcher is right or left handed and own an OBP above 400 (.410 before this May 2).
Beyond the numbers, which are the daily food of the players and fans of this sport, the fate so far by the Chicago White Sox in part because the torrid offensive of these guys, who have assembled a powerful clan with Cuban substitute catcher Adrian Nieto and team manager, Robin Ventura.
The future of the three is unpredictable, as it is for any player. For now, the crowds at the U.S. Cellular Field place their hopes in these Cubans that have what is needed to bring the Chicago White Sox to the World Series, as José Ariel Contreras did, and less Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez , in 2005. If their numbers decline, at least in April they brought fear to the best pitching staff.
Dreaming does not cost anything. To realize those fantasies Abreu, Ramirez and Viciedo are responsible, who placed on the baseball map the city of Chicago during the start of regular season. A city that can be identified as ideal for the success of the Cuban players in the majors.