On his way to Chicago’s Wrigley Field, where the Cardinals were facing the Cubs, on Tuesday night, at press time, Nabil Crismatt Abuchaibe answered THE HERALD’s call to discuss his auspicious Major League debut on Monday. at night in the defeat of the red birds against the same ‘Cubs’ (5-4).
The Barranquilla pitcher, who worked a full inning without allowing runs and striking out two men, recounted everything that surrounded that special moment in his life, hours before his joy multiplied and he returned to shine in his second game in the Gran Carp (see separate note).
Have you pinched yourself to see if you are not dreaming?
I always knew it was real, it was something I had been looking for since I was a child. God always has the perfect place to put you. I have assumed this with the greatest tranquility. I thank God for having me here and making that dream come true.
Did you ever think of throwing in the towel?
Never. I always fought day after day for a dream. I’m still fighting. I always tried to arrive and I thank God, who never takes the sweat and work of anyone, everything comes in due course.
If you weren’t a baseball player, what would you be doing now?
I would have been a pilot, I love aviation.
Since when did you like baseball?
Since ever. My grandfather played baseball and he passed that on to the family. They all had it as a hobby. I had the opportunity to leave the country at the age of 15 and dedicate myself one hundred percent to my profession. I think it is the best decision I have made in my life. Yesterday (Monday) I was able to fulfill my dream and that of my parents, who gave me the opportunity to leave the house and fly.
What do you remember about your beginnings in baseball?
I am not sure in which field I saw baseball play for the first time. I remember growing up listening to Édgar Renteria. He was always an idol. I had the opportunity to speak with him these days, when I was called up to the Major Leagues, and I told him that I looked forward to continuing his legacy. He is a person who has left the country high. Without a doubt, he is the best of the Colombians who have been through the Major Leagues and I hope to imitate his discipline and effort, which are something incredible. I am here and I hope to stay for many years to come.
How many calls have you received after debut?
I do not have an exact number, but it is very gratifying that people express their affection to you. I will not be able to answer all of them, I have read little by little, but it fills me with great satisfaction to know that there are so many people waiting for one. How cool that.
Did you feel nervous at any point in your debut?
No, honestly not. I have been working my mind in the last months, I feel that the game now becomes more mental than physical and one can never let the emotions be above one. I feel like the mind is everything right now. Play a very important role in this sport, you have to go out and try to manage your emotions, that is what divides you between failure and success.
Not even after Anthony Rizzo doubles on his first pitch in the majors?
No. I went to execute my plan and felt calm. I knew what I was doing. At no time did I feel fear, of nothing. Just as they have a bat, I have a ball. That can happen, the game is like that. Regardless of any result, what you control is throwing the pitch with conviction and confidence. It was a good pitching and he connected very well, I give him credit. I stayed calm and tried to move the situation forward.
Having a figure like the Puerto Rican Yadier Molina as a receiver is not yet given, but he is getting closer and closer …
Yeah right if. I know that with God’s help we will have him back in the team, and all the colleagues who are with the coronavirus problem. I wish them the best and hope they come back soon. I know that at some point I will have him behind the plate and I will try to learn the most from him and all the teammates.
Did you see the video of your father’s reaction when he struck out Ian Happ?
(Laughs)… Incredible. Since I’ve been pitching in the minor leagues, it’s been like this. It fills me with a lot of feeling to see him and my mother get emotional every time I pitch. I have to tell you to calm down a bit, I’m afraid that something is going to happen to you with such great emotions. It is normal, they feel it because I am their son. Bacano that they are enjoying it.
What made you laugh the most about the video?
(Laughter) The thrill of him when I struck out the batter. Amazing to see how he raises his arms and starts to shake them (laughs)… I see him again and I laugh again.
A very Barranquilla celebration …
Yes Yes. It is something that only he feels as a father. It is very exciting to see it. It fills me with great personal satisfaction to see how my family enjoys this.