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Ray Negron

Negron: Luis Severino Takes Pride in Being a Yankee

Ray Negron

Just when you think you know somebody, you find out that you really didn’t know them at all. That was the case with the Yankees’ Luis Severino.

Just recently I was watching a simulated game at George M Steinbrenner Field. Brett Gardner was getting some extra at bats along with some of the young hitting prospects. Severino came out to watch a couple of the pitchers that were throwing. For the last two years I had only heard Severino talk in Spanish so I took it for granted that he only spoke Spanish.

To my surprise I heard him speaking to Gardner in English. It wasn’t a broken English. It was a very clear and polished English. He saw me smiling at him and he asked why. I said that I was so happy to hear him talking in English because I feel that too many Latin players that I know do not speak English. They like to hide behind translators and people never get to know how intelligent and interesting some of these guys really are.

I used to be Bartolo Colon’s translator. I was always upset with him because I always wanted for him to speak to the press himself so that society could know who he was instead of this character known as “big sexy.” When baseball is over he will only be known as the heavy pitcher that was labeled with the anatomical moniker. I think that’s sad because Colon is more that that. He is actually a pretty intelligent guy who the world never really got to know.

In the case of Luis Severino that will never be the case because this young man took it upon himself to master the language and to also master the sense of being a responsible person. He told me that he actually learned English by watching the television series “Friends” with his American friends and asking them a lot of questions. He said that he also has helped a lot of those same pals by teaching them Spanish. I love the fact that he considers himself a responsible parent that raises his child by example as well as by being an adult.

Severino said that when he heard about the Parkland shootings in Florida he really felt it as a parent. He wondered how any parent could send his child to what was supposed to be a safe environment and not have his kid return home. The 24-year old said, as a parent, he took it personally and that he really hurt for those parents that lost their children. Severino started a foundation that helps children in the Dominican Republic with their education and also the poor people of his hometown. He wants to do the same thing in the poorest areas of New York. Luis has a total understanding of what a Yankee baseball player is supposed to be and what he represents. The Yankee ace said that a fellow countryman and great Yankee, Robinson Cano wore his pinstripes with great pride in the Dominican Republic and was a wonderful example to so many Dominican players. Cano’s experience in “pinstripes” made it easy for Severino to really want to be a Yankee.

However it happened, I want to congratulate the Yankees for what ever hand they had in helping Severino develop, not only as a baseball player, but also as a fine young man. What ever the prototype is for the development of these players, the one they used for Severino should be kept in the front of the file.

Luis Severino will be the opening day starter for the Yankees in Toronto and he is extremely proud of this assignment. I’m not going to get into all the numbers and success ratios etc. I will leave that up to the analytic guys. I will say that I feel very comfortable with Mr Severino on the mound for us as our ace. On the 40th anniversary of the greatest season that a Yankee pitcher ever had (Ron Guidry) I look forward to great success from this very fine young man this season.


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