In 2002, I joined the Cuban national baseball team, and I was instantly a superstar. .324, 21 home runs, 82 RBI, and I even pitched in a game. I set seven rookie records. In my second season, I hit .391. Then they banned me for talking to an agent. I didn’t talk to an agent. But once they banned me, what choice did I have? Twelve times I tried to escape to the U.S. I ended up in jail. Finally, I got to Florida, but then I needed to establish foreign residency to avoid the MLB Draft, so I went to the Dominican Republic. The Angels scouted and signed me. The Dominican Republic delayed my paperwork. Finally, I was allowed to play ball in the U.S. And so what if they thought my name was Kendry instead of Kendrys? After all I risked to come here, what does one letter of my name really matter?
They called me up, they sent me down. They called me up, they sent me down. A home run in my second at-bat. Four years of minor league stats, OPS never below .872. Finally, in 2009, Mark Teixeira left, and I got my chance. 34 home runs. Slugged .569. In August I was AL Player of the Month. I could have been bitter it had taken so long, but I wasn’t. “The guys that played ahead of me were seasoned players,” I told the press, “and I didn’t deserve to play in the big leagues yet. The one thing I thought about — not how long I had to wait — was just to concentrate on playing well once that opportunity came.”
I hit my first career grand slam in May 2010. And something happened as I crossed home plate. I don’t know what I did, I don’t know why, maybe it was Fidel Castro haunting me. I don’t know. Goodbye 2010. I don’t know what kind of crazy surgeon I had, but goodbye 2010, goodbye 2011, more surgery, more rehab.
But I was on my way back. I trusted the Angels. I didn’t sue them over this crazy surgery that someone must have botched, or whatever was wrong with the home plate that made me break my leg on it. I didn’t talk to the media, I just tried to rehab and recover so I could come back and be that 34-home-run hitter again. With my eyes on 2012, I knew all would be good again.
And you’ve signed who now?
I’m sorry, you’ve signed who????
It’s one thing to compete for your job against Mark Trumbo. Who seems like a lovely guy, but let’s face it, his OBP was .291. I can beat out Mark Trumbo, and if I can’t then I don’t deserve a spot on the team.
But you’ve signed who now?
How the heck am I supposed to compete with the best player in baseball? For two years I’ve been trying to come back from this freak injury, the only thing keeping me sane being the idea that my job was sort of waiting for me. That I’d at least have a shot. That the people [author’s note: I am one of those people] who kept me on their fantasy team rosters, because they can’t seem to find someone who isn’t injured to fill the easiest position slot to fill in baseball, were counting on me to come back. Believing in me. Holding a spot on their fake teams for me. Trusting that my left leg would work again.
And now you’ve signed Albert Pujols. And Mark Trumbo is still around. And I’m screwed. I may as well go back to Cuba. I may as well sit in a Cuban jail for the rest of my life, because I’m supposed to beat out Albert Pujols for the first base job? Come on. Come on, Arte Moreno, I thought we were friends. Sure, you say there’s a DH slot out there that I can compete for, but Bobby Abreu, Vernon Wells, and Torii Hunter are making a heck of a lot more money than I am, Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout are there, they say Trumbo can play the outfield too, that means there are 6 of us for 4 slots. And one of us has a broken leg. So who do you think is going to end up on the bench?
Kendrys. I mean Kendry. Heck, why don’t you slice a few more letters off my name now, since you’ve given away my job? Kendr Morale, that looks good. Or, even better, Ken Mora. I can be Ken Mora, bench player for the Salt Lake Bees. Do you know what it’s like for a Cuban person in Salt Lake City? They think I’m an extraterrestrial.
Come on, Albert. Fail your physical. Go back to the Cardinals. Let me keep my job. Please, Albert, I’m begging you. Don’t do it. Don’t do this to me. I thought we were friends. You nodded at me once. I thought we were friends. I’m going to find your real birth certificate and release it if you do this to me, Albert. Everyone is going to know you’re 62 years old, I swear. Don’t make me do it. I know people, Albert. I know people who can hurt you. Just ask Mark Trumbo. How do you think he got a stress fracture of the navicular bone in September, causing him to miss winter ball? I know people. I hate you. I hate the Angels. I hate the United States of America.
Thanks to Wikipedia and Baseball-Reference for lots of the facts here.