It Could Not Happen to a Nicer Guy

Day 53

 

I was fortunate enough to meet 25-year old Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez in 2008. My first inclination was to talk with him in Spanish, because he is originally from the Dominican Republic, and I was unsure his level of English.

It didn’t take long to realize no matter what language he spoke, this guy was one of the nicest
ubaldo_jimenez.jpgand humble ball players I had ever met.

I watched his demeanor around other people and this guy had the biggest smile and the ability to make anyone feel at ease, just by being who he was.

He was humbled to have someone recognize him or even ask for an autograph. I’ll never forget the moment I asked him if he was going to win 20 games and he replied in broken English with a big smile and head down, something to the effect, ” I just be happy to win any.”

I knew he would win some and I hoped he would win many. This is the first pitcher I have ever watched in my life throw 102 miles per hour. I watched the board light up 102 and I was blown away. I’ve watched him throw his four-seam fastball 101 and 100 regularly.

I asked him, “What’s the fastest you ever thrown?” He replied, “100, 101.” I looked at him and said I’ve seen you throw 102. He smiled his big smile again and put his head down like a shy child. Who couldn’t help but love this guy I thought?

Last season he had some struggles on the mound but overall was solid in his starting role. With the season ending surgery for Jeff Francis, Mr. Ubaldo Jimenez has been inked as the number two.

So when I say it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, I mean I read today from Rockies MLB reporter Thomas Harding, Jimenez has signed a four-year $10 million contract. That may end up being a steal for the Rockies if Ubaldo lives up to the expectations every true fan knows he can exceed.

Congrats Ubaldo, I have all the faith in the world you will go down in Rockies history as being one of the best pitchers this team has ever had.

 

Photo Credit http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_FyZjV63LfUw/SX9SKPiC4AI/AAAAAAAAAPU/qDUbK1sCCLs/s400/ubaldo+jimenez.jpg:

19 comments

  1. Elizabeth D

    Tom,
    Ubaldo seems like such a nice guy! It’s nice when players don’t have a big ego, and actually acknowledge you and smile– even better when they’re humble. I’m hoping to meet tons of minor league players like that when I go to Spring Training this weekend. I really want to get some autographs but most of all, I just want to see baseball! It’s great that he’s going to be with the Rockies for a while!
    -Elizabeth
    http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

  2. rockymountainway

    Thanks Jen and congrats to you too! He really is a nice guy.

    Elizabeth- Yes get some autographs and just enjoy. Spring ball is so amazing. I love it.

    -Tom

  3. rockymountainway

    Thanks Julia- Congrats on your number 2 as well.

    Jeff- Any praise from RSBS is good praise. Loving the videos over your way too man.

    -Tom

  4. raysrenegade

    I saw a guy throw 100 once in college and basically just stood there and hoped my bat would not shatter.

    Awesome story, and every team has a guy like that who you would not even know if not for some great writer to showcase who he really is as a person and not just a player.

    Now Tommy, why are you down at 14? I thought you might be nipping at my heels after the great week you had writing. Just keep up that awesome series and you will get the recognition you deserve soon..trust me.

    Rays Renegade

    http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

  5. happyyoungster

    I did take special notice to this kid when he pitched in Milwaukee last year. My season seats are right above the visitors bullpen and I was watching this guy pop some leather. He’s definitely a young star on the rise. Congrats on locking him up for 4 yrs!

    http://thehappyyoungster.mlblogs.com/

  6. roundrock15

    Everything I hear about Ubaldo is positive, and I’m with your sentiment that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I expect very good things out of this youngster, and it’s nice to hear that he’s so humble, too. Great article, thank you.

  7. rockymountainway

    Rays- thanks you too over at the shop o’ Rays Renegade.
    Kmcleod- If you saw him throw then you know the talent. I know he’ll be a good one for us.
    Happy- locking him down for four years makes me happy- non pun intended : )
    Sue- We don’t play the Phillies too often so no worries there but I hope he has a great year.
    Roundrock- He is a great youngster and I have all the confidence in the world in him.
    Kaybee- glad you are feeling better and you’re welcome. He deserves a nice tribute.
    Diamonds- I couldn’t say it any better myself : )

    -Tom

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