In the ceaseless debate of aged university vs. new college, José Abreu has uncovered himself in the crosshairs. Outdated faculty, exhibit A Ozzie Guillén, B Frank Thomas, C Stone Pony, D the huddled masses yearning for a more simple baseball card get ever more garrulous with each and every operate-batted-in.
But the level that new university needs to make is that measuring Abreu by RBIs unnecessarily cuts down him. He’s a run-driver, indeed, but a producer, leader, defender, hitter, clutch bat, clubhouse papa …
Abreu is component tranquilo, component mentecato — and completely beloved by teammates, opponents and lovers alike.
And right after a second straight August Player of the Month award, Pito’s tested he stops at practically nothing when the extend operate rears alone.
Historically excelling in the month, it mattered not how he strike in decades prior to 2020, when the White Stockings lastly pulled up into contention. A year ago, as Chicago streaked towards its 1st postseason in 12 decades, Abreu tilted the diamond with seven homers, 28 RBIs, 79 overall bases in 28 video games, a slash of .330/.374/.687 dribbling towards an eye-popping 1.061 OPS.
Now a 12 months later on, with the White Sox once more ensconced in very first and getting even much less motivation to dig deep with a division previously in hand, Abreu mocked the lack of obvious urgency and in essence matched those people marks: 10 homers, 25 RBIs, 74 whole bases in 28 online games, a slash of .330/.382/.661 for a 1.043 OPS.
With no Pito, the White Sox are arroz sin frijoles. La jardinera sin pollo. Maduros en mal estado. The meal is not in shape for eating, considerably fewer white-glove servicing.
The White Sox August with Mal Tiempo storming the batter’s box? A gentle breeze of 16-12, as the Chicago 9 received in spite of by themselves, languidly strolling to season’s conclude.
Without Abreu’s regular hand and day-to-day physical appearance in the clubhouse, dugout and No. 3 station in the batting buy? Mayhem. Reduction of limb. Bus crashes. No talk of magic quantities. Probably not -28, but additional 28 than .
What’s a lot more, there is no player on the group that the White Sox rally tougher for. When nevertheless a further ball whizzes so near to Pito’s noggin he can smell lifeless cattle, teammates loosen lips and commence to wag and bark, bite and rile. A month ago, Tony La Russa himself infamously scooted on to discipline soon after Cleveland catcher Roberto Pérez named for a single too many pills up and in at the hometown hero.
La Russa may possibly never ever stay his geriatric shuffle down, but nor would he want to, praising Pito’s punctuality and production to alto cielo.
“Come heck or substantial water, José finds his way into that lineup, and he’s prepared for the hardest scenarios,” La Russa instructed reporters last thirty day period. “You really do not get RBIs just because you go to bat 600 instances. It’s a skill. And he’s just one of the elite operate producers in the historical past of the game.”
Abreu’s predilection for his uncle’s soft guitar plucking attained him his lasting nickname, “Pito.” As a rookie, Abreu listened to the captain he would supplant, Paul Konerko, ping la tala in the clubhouse right before game titles, just as he’d completed two decades previously in Cienfuegos.
No 1 on the South Aspect of Chicago, or in South-Central Cuba, listens for this kind of dulcet tones from Abreu. They are accosted by crack of bat, thunder off of outfield partitions, dives at initial foundation, and exhortations from the dugout. This quiet male — it was the top in mellow, Alexei Ramírez, who dubbed Abreu “tranquilo,” just after all — wields a hammer of the gods.
No matter whether the White Sox are destined for another fast October exit or a parade for thousands and thousands by Halloween, it will be Pito who carries them.
Apéndice: Career Regular monthly Splits