Just when you think you know someone, you find out that you really don't know them at all.This was the case with Luis Severino.
Just recently, I was watching a simulated game at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Brett Gardner was getting some extra at bats along with some of the young hitting prospects. Severino came out to watch a couple of the pitchers that were throwing. For the last two years, I had only heard Severino speak in Spanish — so I took it for granted that he only spoke Spanish.
To my surprise, I heard him speaking to Brett Gardner in English!
And it wasn’t in a broken English. It was a very clear, polished English.
He saw me smiling at him and he asked why? I said that I was so happy to hear him speaking in English because I feel that too many English speaking Latin players, that I know, like to hide behind their translators. As a result, we never get to see how intelligent and interesting some of these guys really are.
I used to be Bartolo Colon’s translator. I was frequentlky upset with him because I wanted him to speak to the press himself. That way, everyone could know who he was instead of just this character known as "Big Sexy."
When his baseball career is over he will still only be the heavy guy who was known as Big Sexy. I think that this is sad because Bartolo Colon is more than that. He is actually a pretty intelligent guy, one whom the world never really got to know.
In the case of Luis Severino, that will never be the case because this young man took it upon himself to master the English language while mastering the sense of being a responsible person.
He told me that he actually learned English by watching the Warner Brothers television series "Friends," with his own American friends and asking them a lot of questions. He said that he has also helped a lot of those same pals by teaching them Spanish.
I also love the fact that he considers himself a responsible parent who must teach his own child by example, as well as by being an adult.
Severino said that when he heard about the Parkland shootings he really felt it as a parent, wondering how a parent could send his child to what is supposed to be a safe environment and then not have their child return home. He said that as a parent he took this very personally.
He really hurt for those parents losing their children.
Luis Severino started a foundation that helps children in the Dominican Republic with their education and also poor people of his hometown. He wants to do the same thing in the poorest areas of New York.
Luis has a complete understanding of what a Yankee baseball player is supposed to be and what he represents. Luis said that a fellow countryman and great Yankee, Robinson Cano, wore his pinstripes with great pride in the Dominican Republic and was a wonderful example to so many Dominican players.
That in and of itself made it easy for Luis to really want to be a Yankee.
However it happened, I want to congratulate the Yankees for whatever hand they had in helping Luis Severino, not only develop as a baseball player but also as a fine young man.
The prototype for development of these players, the one used for Severino, should be kept in the front of the file.
Luis Severino will be the opening day starter for the New York Yankees in Toronto and he is extremely proud of this assignment. I’m not going to get into all the numbers and success ratios etc. I will leave that up to the analytic guys.
I will say that I feel very comfortable with Mr. Severino on the mobarto und for us as our ace. On the 40th anniversary of the greatest season that a Yankee pitcher has ever had (Ron Guidry) I look forward to great success from this very fine young man this season.
Ray Negron can be heard Saturday's from 12-2 p.m. on Impact ESPN 1050AM.
Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, "Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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