Getting to the All-Star game was not an easy trip for Jose Ramirez. He physically got to Miami easy enough (and was pretty psyched to go there), but when 14-year-old Ramirez dropped out of school to pursue a career in baseball, few knew it would land him here.
To even make it to the Midsummer Classic this season, Jose had to overcome a 200,000 vote deficit with less than a week of voting left. Despite leading AL third basemen in nearly every offensive category but home runs, he was still trailing Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano, who was hitting enough home runs to earn himself a nod in the Home Run Derby. Ramirez did it, with the help of Cleveland, and he came away with a big lead over second-place Sano.
Jose, being Jose, was nothing but thankful to fans for what they did to make him the team’s first voted-in starter since Juan Gonzalez in 2001.
Now that he has made it, and is batting second as the American League’s starting third baseman, it seems few appreciate the honor quite like Jose. And few seem to have quite as much fun with his new (and old) teammates.
First, he had to give a shoutout to all those people who doubted him because of his size. And I can’t blame him for doing so — imagine being in Single-A, having quit everything and left your home country at 14 to pursue a dream, only to be repeatedly told you are too small to accomplish it. I would make sure all my doubters knew I made it, too.
Shout out to all the people who told me I would never make it because I was too small pic.twitter.com/XySgmgoTI0— Jose Ramirez (@MrLapara) July 10, 2017
Jose Ramirez may or may not speak English — if he doesn’t, and he probably doesn’t, his excellent Twitter account is handled by a translator, and he’s doing a good job messing with post-game reporters — but he required a translator during the All-Star week. Sandy Alomar helped him out during Monday’s interviews with the press, but hey, Sandy is a popular guy.
Jose didn’t seem to mind.
Jose Ramirez waits to do an interview, because his translator, Sandy Alomar Jr., is a popular guy. pic.twitter.com/bdHMwc6L7A— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 10, 2017
It might not have always seemed like it, but this guy was meant for the spotlight. He'll hit second tomorrow for the AL. pic.twitter.com/Bs4Egbytcq— T.J. Zuppe (@TJZuppe) July 10, 2017
Teammates at the press event couldn’t help but talk about Jose. Michael Brantley, for instance, had to comment on his strut that was recently turned into a video to push the All-Star vote for Jose and Francisco Lindor.
"I made fun of it. You have to. The George Jefferson strut." --Michael Brantley, on his reaction the first time he saw Jose Ramirez's strut pic.twitter.com/RVGr56sBFw— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 10, 2017
And if you subscribe to The Athletic Cleveland, you can see even more glimpses of what teammates had to say. As quoted below, Andrew Miller noted how much Jose is soaking up the spotlight and reveling in it:
It seems like he genuinely likes it, enjoys it. His engagement with fans, his ability to step up in the big moment seems like a real thing. He’s not afraid. He goes out there and backs it up on a regular basis. Part of it is just talent. He doesn’t look like Aaron Judge, but he’s got every bit of talent as anybody in this game. He’s ability to hit is second to none, he’s an incredible fielder, I think just because he’s not the 6-foot-5 ideal scout body doesn’t mean he’s not same player than anybody can be.
Best of all, Jose had some fun with his teammate after the Home Run Derby. Never change, Jose. Never change.
At the end of the HR Derby, Francisco Lindor broke away from the AL celebration and chased Jose Ramirez far down the right-field line. Why? pic.twitter.com/0Jeq9T9bcY— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 11, 2017
You may never see it in a big smile on his face like Francisco Lindor, but it’s evident that Jose Ramirez is having the time of his life in Miami. He deserves it, and he deserves to enjoy the many more events like it coming in his future.