By Raúl Ramos (Twitter: @RamosRauli)
Paramus, New Jersey — Edwin ‘Sugar’ Diaz is the valuable gem the ‘Amazins’ acquired all the way from the West Coast because his toughness, durability, and glow are so unique, the NYC Diamond District did not have.
The All-Star fire-baller who just won the Mariano Rivera award as the best relief pitcher in the American League in 2018, will start a new chapter of his young but marvelous baseball career “In the City that Never Sleeps.”
Edwin Díaz’s fans who live in Naguabo, Puerto Rico believe the 24-year-old All-Star closer (who had a career year with 57 saves) inherited his toughness from his great-grandfather, Saro Méndez.
But, who is Saro Méndez?
Saro was an outstanding amateur pitcher from the sandlots of Naguabo, a small town on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. He was a farmer whose main responsibility was for the well-being of his employer livestock in the barrio Daguao.
It’s an old folklore story shared throughout his hometown and they haven’t forgotten the great Saro Méndez. He was a pitcher, but like so many others, would rather been known simply as ‘un jíbaro’ who was a farmer but still capable of throwing not one but two games of Sunday doubleheader.
Those who knew Saro could attest to his unbelievable character. He would carry a “caneca” (small rum bottle) in his back pocket, chewed tobacco profusely and had an unbelievable windup that resembled the legendary Negro Leaguer, Satchel Paige.
One sunny morning, Saro was doing his customary chores. As he mounted his horse and gathered his cattle, a rambunctious bull attacked him. He lost his balance and fell to the ground. Although the frightened horse trotted away, Saro, with one knee to the ground, observed how el toro was moving from side to side waiting to attack him. Showing his fearlessness, he grabbed a stone next to him, threw it as if it was one of his customary fastballs, and knocked the bull to the ground.
There’s an old adage that says, “The mangoes don’t fall too far from the tree.” Edwin Díaz has inherited his great-grandfather toughness showing the world of baseball what his capable of doing, without a drop of sweat hitting the baseball diamond.
Díaz had an unbelievable 2018 season, and his new team expects their new pitching acquisition to bring his high octane energy to Queens. He’s done a marvelous job carving his own niche as an elite closer in Major League Baseball.
As he continues to impress and dominate his opponents, his former manager during the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) has a huge smile on the face. Currently a manager in the San Diego Padres farm system, Edwin Rodríguez, from his vantage point, had the best seat during the WBC and enjoyed it all on the world stage.
“Edwin [Díaz] has the subjective and objective abilities for the role. He has the mental toughness, determination, and confidence to throw his best pitch at any count in any situation,” said Rodríguez.
He added: “His plus-fastball and slider will strikeout any hitter when the moment calls for one, including the elite hitters.”
When ‘Sugar’ was growing up, he idolized future HOF Mariano Rivera. He dreamed of the unique opportunity of playing under the bright lights of New York. The change of scenery from Seattle to New York will allow him to fulfill one of his dreams, to be under the New York spotlight, this time he’ll be wearing orange and blue and writing his own legacy in the sports pages of “The City That Never Sleeps.”
Edwin Diaz Sr. commended his son tenacity and ability. He added, “The best thing that ‘Sugar’ has as a player is that he is fearless against any batter. He is there to pitch against the best hitters of the game. They will try to hit his pitches but Sugar is there to finish them off.”
He finished by saying “We are excited with the opportunity of ‘Sugar’ becoming part of the Mets. There is no bigger stage than New York. It’s the City that separates the men from the boys, and he is ready for it.”
Diaz is an exceptional player, a diamond that will continue blind sighting the opposing hitters with the glitter of his unique glow, under the lights of the City of New York.¿Quiere escuchar noticias de los Yankees, entrevistas y todo lo relacionado con el equipo? Siga nuestro podcast: “La Semana de los Bombarderos”, para escucharlo entre aqui
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