Solomon: Skeeters’ player-coach adore event with baseball
Beaming brightly in a 100-degree feverishness during sun-splashed Constellation Field, a integrate hours before a Sugar Land Skeeters game, Vic Gutierrez gushes with a unrestrained of a teen who dreams of one day personification Major League Baseball.
But, like millions before him, Gutierrez knows his dream will never be fulfilled. The phone call revelation him to squeeze his glove and conduct to “The Show” will never come.
There isn’t most direct for 34-year-old eccentric joining infielders who aren’t as quick as they used to be.
Still, either he is describing four- or five-hour walks to a ballpark as a kid, 18-hour train rides from Arkansas to West Texas for Class AA games or a 16-year round odyssey that has taken him from a banks of a Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy to a shores of a Great Salt Lake, Gutierrez doesn’t wandering distant from a executive theme:
“I adore a game.”
You have substantially never listened of Gutierrez. He has plied his trade in obscurity, collecting singles, doubles and stolen bases for scarcely 20 teams in a farthest of outposts in a career that has been severe and arduous, nonetheless rewarding.
Whether it was a Atlantic League, Carolina League, Eastern League, South Atlantic League, Pacific Coast League, Southern League, or Texas League, Gutierrez never mislaid his passion for a sport.
No, he has never finished it to a large time – a closest he came was 22 games in Class AAA – though one word a Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, local will not use to constraint his career is disappointing.
“Getting to a vital leagues was my dream, and we never finished it, though we still adore a diversion and conclude how distant we did make it,” he said. “I don’t feel bad during all.
“I consider we had a ability to play in a large leagues, though not everybody is going to have a opportunity.
“I’m still happy and sanctified that we finished it that far, entrance from where we came from. So, yeah, I’m beholden during how distant we finished it.”
Plenty of stops
A center infielder with “exceptional speed, a infrequently fantastic glove, and a decent bat,” as one director described him, Gutierrez sealed as a pro when he was 17 and spent his initial dual years personification for a Dominican Pirates.
In 1997 he came to a U.S. to embark on a career in that he frequency stayed in a place prolonged adequate to call home, with brief stops in a likes of Bradenton, Fla.; Augusta, Ga.; Lynchburg, Tenn.; Atlantic City, N.J.; Greenville, S.C.; Little Rock, Ark.; Camden, N.J.; Newark, N.J.; and York, Pa.
A integrate of times, as was a box final year when he was a player-coach for a Atlantic League Road Warriors, Gutierrez matched adult for teams that didn’t even have a home. Traveling teams they’re called.
He has been in plush vicinity such as a new lane in Sugar Land, and kick adult ones like a 70-year-old margin in Little Rock that was flattering most a cow pasture with infield mud worse than a normal equine track.
And a sellout crowds during Skeeters’ games are a distant cry from Camden, where in 2007 during lane construction, Gutierrez and a York Revolution hosted 11 games with a high assemblage of 67 and a low of nine. Yes, nine.
Nothing can take this male divided from a diversion he loves.
“You do what we have to do to play,” Gutierrez said.
Many times he recalls going to a ballpark inspired since there was no food to eat. Quite mostly his mom couldn’t means train transport so he and his friends had to trek double-digit miles opposite city to a ballpark.
The time it took to make a travel was longer than a time a boys were means to spend on a diamond, though they finished a trips anyway. Sunup to good past sundown. For a small baseball.
“I’m not special,” Gutierrez said. “All my friends did it. We’d only take off and have fun while walking to a field. Twenty miles for a trip. It would take all day to get there, though we desired a game.
“It was not about ‘I wish to make money,’ or ‘I wish to be on TV.’”
Carving out a career
When Gutierrez came to a U.S. during 19 – for rookie round for a Pittsburgh Pirates’ associate in Bradenton – he didn’t know anyone, didn’t pronounce any English and didn’t have a translator. He was only thrown on a train to a lane and sent out to margin grounders.
All he saw was his margin of dreams.
In his initial year of Class A ball, Gutierrez, who has been with a Pirates, Braves, Expos and Angels organizations, stole a record 60 bases. The subsequent year, both Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre surfaced that number. Those dual modernized to a majors a following deteriorate and haven’t looked back, any personification 13 seasons.
Gutierrez is still grinding. Instead of Red Sox, it has been GreenJackets. Instead of Blue Jays, it has been Bluefish. Instead of Diamondbacks it has been Black Diamonds.
Gutierrez has been a good professional. He is a four-time Atlantic League All-Star, among a tip 10 in all-time hits in a joining and has batted .290 or aloft in 7 seasons.
Now he is a attack manager and part-time actor for a Skeeters, and has factored in several wins with late-inning purchase hitting.
Gutierrez suspicion he had retired, though when he has been called on to play he has finished so, once even holding to a margin in unchanging sneakers since he didn’t consider he’d need a cleats as a first-base coach. Because of an injury, he was called to avocation – and happy to oblige.
“You can’t ask me to play and design me to contend no,” he said.
Giving it his all
It is that work ethic he hopes his sons De’Reese, 13, and Carlos, 12, collect adult from examination their father follow his dream, that is now to make it to a vital leagues as a coach.
“All in all we consider we conclude all I’ve been given and all that I’ve finished in baseball,” pronounced Gutierrez, who has a .273 career average. “I’ve been so many places, had so many practice and we applaud that.
“God gave me a ability to play this diversion and to adore this game. How could we not have enjoyed that?
“I consider we gave it all we had. If we adore something, that should be your approach.”