Aug/12/12 10:23 PM Filed in: Eddy Rodriguez
Let's talk about your road to the big leagues. You're in Single-A Lake Elsinore, the next day you're on a flight to Cincinnati to join a major league team. What is going through your head?
I almost didn't have time to have anything go through my head. It was a pleasant surprise. It's that call that I've been waiting for since I started playing this game when I was nine years old. I was surprised. I didn't really know what was going on. I've played this game long enough now to know that you can't really worry about what's going on in front of you. It takes care of itself, and I can't control it so I don't even worry about it. To tell you the truth, I went fishing that morning, and I was just happy I had a good day on the lake (laughs). I got a call at 10:45 and they said, "Hey, you're going to the big leagues" and I said, "Did you call the right guy?"That jump from Single-A to the Big Show. That's huge. How did you mentally stay in the right place -- excited, but still under control?
I've had a smile from ear to ear since I got here. It hasn't changed since the minute I got the news. There's been a couple tears here and there in between but they've all been tears of joy. The path that we take -- I mean, every single ball player here has their unique story. And that's why this game is beautiful. You never know what's gonna happen.To top it off, your first major league at-bat, you hit for a home run. I mean, can it get any better?
I couldn't have scripted it any better. I get Johnny Cueto, who is a possible Cy Young winner, an outstanding pitcher. I was at that point where I knew I had nothing to lose. I put in the hours of work, and you can't exchange anything for that. That peace of mind that you've put in the work, and whatever happens, happens. The game is going to take care of itself. All you gotta do is be prepared for that moment.You're from Cuba. You and your family defected on your father's fishing boat when you were eight years old. The boat nearly capsized and drowned you all. What do you remember about that?
We snuck out. We spent three days on the ocean. It's one of those stories that takes about 30 minutes for me to get out. I normally get goose bumps. I was eight years old, and I couldn't be happier or more grateful to my parents for taking that opportunity. I wouldn't have played baseball in Cuba, just because of where I was. I lived out in the country.You got to Miami. Was it tough to acclimate?
It was tough. The language barrier and the cultural barrier were the toughest things. But the thing is, you get to Miami. Miami is a mini-Cuba. That made it a little easier. But I got teased when I was younger because I didn't know English and people made fun of me and all that. And that's just kids being kids. But that's what made it a little tougher. Also, going from our home in Cuba to a tough financial situation, my mom cleaning houses and my dad working 40,50,60 hours a week on a consistent basis. It made it tough, but it just makes a moment like this more gratifying.What's your relationship with Yonder?
We've grown up together. He's like my little brother but he got to the big leagues way before I did (laughs). It's awesome. The last time I saw him play, I was in Cincinnati after my independent league season was done. I was sitting in the stands. Two years later, it's a whole different situation. We're teammates.Fishing is your hobby, your passion outside of baseball. How often do you go?
Last offseason, I fished at least twice a week. This offseason is going to be a little different. The most important thing is that I get ready for the season, but after I get back from this season, there's about a month where I won't do anything. There's 30 days in that month, about 25 of them I'm going to be on the water.Does anyone fish with you?
I fish by myself. Its a passion that I've had. It's my getaway, my little sanctuary.One thing on your bucket list?
Going to the World Cup.Last meal on earth?
White rice, black beans, chicken and fried plantains.