Come to the ballpark, you’ll see things you never saw before
And so last night, the Jerry Colemanism rang true: A Cuban pitcher, with a (7.31-ERA) at Triple A-El Paso, steps off the plane and hours later shuts out the San Francisco Giants.
Odri Despaigner, a 27-year old free agent defectee from Havana, who was given 1-million dollars in the spring by the Friars, comes out of nowhere to whitewash the Giants.
No one knew what to expect after he got rocked in 3-starts in the Pacific Coast League. The Giants surely did not know what was coming at home plate either.
They swung at first pitches, topped balls around the infield, hit a few fly balls, and were frustrated by what the rookie, and he looks like he’s really 34 years old, was throwing.
Despaigner threw 63/mph looping curveballs; 83/mph change-ups; and a 94/mph heater. Overhand, sidearm, three quarters. High leg kick, no leg kick.
You’d think you were watching Luis Tiant or Livan Hernandez or Orlando Hernandez, some of the best to come out of Cubs over the last two decades.
Odri threw lots of stuff up there, and dealt with a little veteran guile. He doesn’t speak the language, so maybe he didn’t know to be scared. Maybe Cuban teammate catcher Yasi Grandal comforted him. It was fun to watch him match his stuff with the free swinging Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence. Buster Posey lost the guessing game with him too.
It was pretty impressive. It was a win, for a downtrodden team that needed some sort of uplifting moment.
Don’t know if he likes Cuban cigars, but we’ll buy him a box, for it was surely like Jerry Coleman would say, you never know what you’re going to see when you come to the ballpark.
El Cubano made sure of that for at least his opening night in San Francisco.