Alfredo Despain Rodriguez. Author: Rafael Martinez Arias
BAYAMO, Granma. “On one of those suffocating days, after the baseball game in Bayamo and before he left for the Latin American stadium, we went to meet Alfredo Despain Rodriguez, the man who was mentioned so many times in this 62nd National Series.
It is logical that he was repeatedly mentioned: the captain of the Cuban national team, a member of four world classics, spent nine seasons in the Japanese Professional League; so this raid on the Sorrels from the very beginning aroused expectation and even questions. Expectation rose when ADR 54 suffered an injury in his team’s eleventh game on April 9, and many began to fear for the athlete’s health.
While waiting for the interview, knowing that he suffered a slight sprain on the medial part of his right leg (an injury that caused him to miss 20 games for Alazan), I, like others, wondered where this man had such an extraordinary desire to play. , above the scorching sun of “you don’t need it” criticism.
He will answer me later. “Playing with Granma is my job, this is the team that I started playing for, I have always dedicated myself to this team. Now I have job offers abroad, but I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m focused, you know? V
Being here, I want to score some goals that I lack in the national series and … it’s okay if later, when I have a little rest, I decide to leave the country to fulfill the contract, I will go, “A player who would say hit 36 home runs in 2012 (current record) and five more in the playoffs for a staggering 41 total.
But perhaps the most shocking thing was what this Bayamo Adoptive Son, born on June 17, 1986, told me later: “They were in Japan for nine consecutive years. When I left, the boy was a year old and the girl was five. Now they know more, see more, I wanted to spend more time with them, share with my family. He came to Cuba for only two months, it was hard not to see how the children grow up. Now I’m here, happy with them and want them to enjoy every game I play.”
When I asked him about his start in the current national series, which some called for a better one, he honestly replied: “It’s difficult, those of us who play baseball know that there is a difference in pitching (compared to a Japanese professional player) . league), in terms of speed, field breakdown are not the same; You have to adapt, take turns stopping home play depending on the pitcher, whether he’s moving further or further forward… there are many factors that come into play. I have to progress, play as many games as I can, meet pitchers and pick up the pace little by little.”
Some, by the way, criticized without looking at the numbers. Prior to yesterday’s game, Despaigne was averaging 375 points (18 H in 48 VB), with 551 OBP, 11 RBIs, 11 runs scored, three home runs and 18 walks.
ADR 54, who has averaged 345 points in 14 national series (a historic fourth), said that while he will now try to take better care of himself due to the aforementioned injury, he will continue to participate in his team’s tours, which the “fortune teller” denied. “I plan to be in everything I can, I want to play as many games as possible; It also serves as a preparation for me so that I don’t lose my fitness.”
As for the Sorrels, he said the pitchers aren’t at their best, but he thinks they can bounce back. “Everyone saw that we need to do a lot of races to win. Let’s hope they improve and the offense improves too because we still have a lot of runners in circulation.”
He also talked about his physical form. “I make an effort, tie things on my leg and hope that it won’t tear again,” he jokingly let go.
Huge, as he is also called, stressed that he still believes that Horse can recover until the last day in the standings, although this is not easy; and noted that there is no problem with the new direction of the group, because “the only absence is the absence of Carlos Martí, who is very felt, and the rest are the same as they were. A new bench coach was appointed, but we already knew him from baseball. I think the relationship is great, a lot of things are done collaboratively, like before when Carlos was there, and that’s very good.”
At the end, Despain was very optimistic: “Granma is in a great mood, from now on we need to get together. The goal is to win and win because there is no going back. We are national champions and we can’t forget that.”
Source: Juventud Rebelde