Jonder Martínez: Number 27 is Still on the Field

Jonder Martínez: Number 27 is Still on the Field
Fecha de publicación: 
29 July 2023
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A little over a week ago, when he got out of the classic car that drove him to Victoria de Girón pitch, Jonder's emotions were already crawling under his skin, but he also knew that this was not goodbye, but a turning point, the most difficult of his career:

«It was 26 years of sacrifice, dedication, many limitations, away from family, and it was very difficult for me to realize that I could no longer keep on pitching, also due to injuries, but with a lot of help from my wife, little by little, I began to realize that we had to make way for future generations».

In more than two decades, number 27, born in Mariel, today the province of Artemisa, became a Cuban man, since he not only put his arm to defend the country in the main international competitions, but also pitched to win domestic championships with three different teams: Havana, Villa Clara, and Matanzas:

"Among the moments I hold dearest are the three national titles and also being an Olympic champion."

The most difficult episode, he repeats to me, was precisely that afternoon when, officially, as he did in the *box*, Jonder Martínez "relieved himself" in life and learned to take advantage of his new position in the *staff* of Los Cocodrilos team:

«I also like this other stage of my sports career, I’m enjoying it to the best of my ability, it has been good for me. It has not been very strange for me, because since I was active, I’ve always liked advising the youngest. Now what has changed is that I'm not pitching and I give a little more advice; I am more emotionally involved, because there are times when we debate how to pitch to a given hitter, then when they get a hit, it feels like I'm the one pitching and, honestly, it's another kind of emotion; it's like I'm the one pitching again myself."

About his mates in the Matanzas coaching staff, he commented: «They have trained me in the last few years, they were grooming me, because they had seen that I like helping the youngest; many of them see me as an example to follow because of my character, my discipline on and off the pitch. This year Ferrer told me: come work with me, even if you're not on the payroll, but you're going to be here to help me, together with Salgado and Garro, in working with the pitchers. The three of us, as a team, we’ve tried to keep the pitching of Matanzas moving forward.

And it doesn't matter that in recent games things have not gone our way and how the fans wanted. Jonder trusts his boys, he knows they will give it their all; and if you ask him what Matanzas is going to do, he answers without hesitation: "Matanzas: fight for the championship again."

For the new generations of pitchers, he has recommendations based on experience and infinite love for baseball: «My advice is to be disciplined; that they try to learn a little more every day; and that they keep a sharp-eye in the ballgame, because each is different; that they are committed to this profession, so that they can achieve their goals.”

The number 27 is still on the field, although on a different position, with the same desire and that very Cuban "thrill" that filled us with confidence when he went up on the mount. He doesn't expect everyone to be the same, but he acknowledges that he liked it when the games got "pretty hot," and confesses: "I like the pitcher to be aggressive, but smart. I also advise young figures to be like that, to face ball games aggressively, but calmly at the same time; It's hard, but doable."

What wouldn’t he know about "doable"? A man who has been such a huge baseball player as a father, son, husband, friend; a guy like that, with character and heart, one of those that no one would like him to walk away, because he always has something extra left to deliver and win.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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