Yes, Jose Abreu is putting up slugger stats that should make any upcoming opponent nervous, but it just so happens that there’s more to love about Abreu than numbers and power alone.
So let’s take a look at what makes Abreu so great, impressive stats aside:
His game demeanor is polite and polished. At the beginning of the season, I overheard a pair of Cleveland fans say, “Oh man, this guy’s from Cuba? He’s gonna be a feisty sparkplug.” I’d love to hear their base of that assumption (maybe Yasiel Puig, who knows), but I remember that conversation every time I watch Abreu go up to bat. Clean and controlled. So intently focused on the game and nothing else. When it doesn’t go his way, there’s no bat-throwing, no grossly negative body language. Even in heated situations, you’ll see how level-headed he remains. Having that kind of maturity as a rookie is pretty incredible, even if he’s 27.
But off the field, he’s just as great. I’ve discussed this with other writers and bloggers—Jose Abreu is just one nice guy. Never too eager, but always ready—with the help of a translator—to discuss a game or how excited he is to be in Chicago (even though the weather is driving him crazy).
The Southside Cubans are the coolest posse in the Major Leagues. Okay so that’s not their official name or anything, but watching Abreu bro-out with Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez has been fun. You can definitely tell there’s a level of comfort there that Abreu wouldn’t be able to find on many other Major League teams. That’s a pretty loaded trio: Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, and Jose Abreu… And of course, don’t forget their head honcho—Minnie Minoso!
He loves his mom. How can you not love a guy who loves his mom? At a SoxFest panel back in January, he told fans the first thing he thought of when he saw his name on the jumbotron for the first time was how thankful he was for his mom.
He broke an Albert Pujols April rookie record. There you go Cubs fans, something to be happy about (okay that’s not entirely “stats aside”, but how can you not mention that?).
I’ve read the various articles the past three days, all of them spouting “Is Abreu the real deal?” or similar variations. Sure, it’s only the first month in a long season and speculations will fly all the way to the All-Star Break—but as a White Sox fan, I’m just happy that we’re not only acquiring first-class ball players, but also first-class people.
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