Episode 13. Jorge Soler @JS12
MLB is back and the interviews continue. Our current record to date is (37-12) In Episode 13 of “talking with the stars” brought to you by Sportswinmore’s Journalist Mike Rodriguez. @mikerodrigueztv talks to Cuban World Series winner Jorge Soler who now plays for the Kansas City Royals. Last year Soler hit 48 Home runs and batted in 117 RBI’s. @js12 talks about growing up in Cuba and serving in the military and the pathway he took to finally get to the majors.
Tell the people how was it in Cuba ?
When I was six years old I was in school and I loved horses and it was a big farm, two boys and one girl. Some scout asked me if I wanted to play the ball because I was a big guy. From there he talked to my parents and asked If I could play, and they said yes. At 7, I did not want to go because I loved my horses did not want to leave them alone. My dad would always take me until I was 11 years old. My first year was good, but by my second year I was really good and then I received a scholar ship to a sleep away academy from Monday- Friday and it became a job for me. I was 12 years old and now this was a full time job for me
When did everyone find out you have talent?
11-12 I played decent but 13 I surpassed a lot of kids that came into school with me. At 15-16 I made the first team and I played really well than the last year I was more mature and played with team Cuba and went to Mexico to play. There as one year when you had to weigh 153 pounds in order to go on the trip I came in over weight and the rules were the rules, and they did not allow me to go.
Tell the people how you were raised in Cuba?
My dad worked in the bakery and mom worked in publications. In our neighborhood I would play around until I knew I had to take it serious, my sister was 3 year younger than me I did not live in a high class neighborhood but never was poor to the point where there was no food on the table. I had two pairs of shoes, one for school and to go out in the neighborhood. I remember there was one game where I wore a shoe two size smaller and all I ever wanted to do was play.
In Cuba, how did you dream to play in the MLB?
People in Cuba will always talk about the MLB, but every Cuban dream is just to play in CUBA. There are some people that can watch MLB games in Cuba, and they will have an “illegal” antenna. If anyone was to get caught watching American MLB games, they will get taken into prison. We would watch the DVR’s in our house on old playoff games. It was until I was 16 that I knew about the majors leagues, the players and some teams. The first player that I ever saw was Manny Ramirez when he played for the dodgers in 2008.
When did the scouts actually start to take notice once you left Cuba and how did convince your parents you wanted to leave?
A trainer came up too and said you won’t believe what they said. A guy came up to me and said they will give you 5 million dollars, don't tell anyone yet keep this under wraps. My mind started to change, and I was just in Cuba but I thought there was a possibility to go to Canada. In my last year I played in Canada and then came to the minors at 18.
Did you have to join the Cuban military?
The only way you can get out of it is when you are extremely sick. So the first is 45 days mandatory and then you have to serve the military for two years. If you do not present yourself, the cops come, and they send you to a camp there is no way to go out of it.
Tell us your experience playing in the Dominican Republic?
I had to leave, but I was very sad, leaving 8 years behind but I knew it was for a reason and it was to put Cuba on my back and to make my family proud. I was in DR for 3 months working out I remember we did a showcase for the Yankees. I saw all the people there, and I was in shock, and I was nervous and there were a lot of good players. When they did the physical I was always 6-3 my whole life and then the line up said I was 6-4 and became very happy. Every scout for each team was there, and it took three months, but all the teams interested were : Yankees, Phillies, Texas, Kansas City, Cubs, White Sox, Pirates, Astros, Braves, they all invited me to the academy. There was one offer that was an eye-opener and it was the cubs. The Yankees gave me a guarantee contract, but they said I would start in the minors, the Cubs were the only team that guaranteed on the opening day roster.
First feeling when you signed with the Cubs?
When all the offers were coming I didn’t believe it. I had offers from over six MLB teams and I felt very, the very good first person I called was my mom said I signed with the cubs. I knew it wasn’t an official thing until I went to the United States. Once I landed everything in my life change. The first thing I bought was a setup direct deposit, I called my people and say what the hell do I do with all this money and I started clothes shopping and I bought a pair of red Adidas that I still have.
Talk about the trade to the Royals?
I felt like it was a better opportunity and I knew it, but it was about meeting new people building strong relationships, but the first day the attention was remarkable and honestly I have no complaints and everything went well. It was the first year we I had pressure because they traded me for Wade David. Every Kansas City loved him as a player, and they would say how would you do that this guy has proven nothing. But all the coaching staff had faith in me and gave me an opportunity and putting up numbers.
Check out the interview down below
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