Spending the Day with Eloy – Handling His Newfound Stardom in Style

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Somedays I am too ambitious. After Wednesday’s rainout of the South Bend Cubs and Clinton lumberKings game, I was all set and prepared to get as much information as I possibly could fit on my phone during Thursday’s doubleheader. I arrived at the park with the iPhone fully charged and a list of about five things I wanted to get done during the game. Most of them involved Eloy Jimenez.

eloy 86 2016 sbIt’s no secret that Eloy is my favorite Cub prospect this year. As each month goes by, the hype on him gets higher and higher. Considering his performance in the Futures Game a week ago, it couldn’t get much bigger after his four RBIs, one home run, and an amazing catch in right field.

I think the big thing that I came away with from spending 6 and 1/2 hours around Eloy  is not only is Eloy a great player, but he’s also a great teammate and he handles everything, even fans, so graciously.

I arrived at the ballpark in Clinton, Iowa about 3 P.M. After I picked up my press pass, I immediately went to the field and met Mike from Scout (Northsider’s Report). We talked for about 10 or 15 minutes and he got me caught up with what was going on with the rain delay the day before and the happenings on Thursday.

For the better part of two hours before the game, I just absorbed everything that was taking place. There were bullpen sessions with Carson Sands, Scott Effross, and Tanner Griggs. Although, most of what I focused on was Eloy. He went through all the drills including running and throwing as all the other players. He did so with a smile on his face the whole time. Wherever he was, there was always a crowd of three, four, or five players around him. They just seem to be drawn to him.

When the drills were over, he took his phone and was sitting on the edge of the seats by the dugout. Pretty soon, the gates opened and fans came in. Initially, there were 4-5 fans who converged in his space and Eloy happily signed autographs for them one at a time. Sometimes it was baseball cards, sometimes it was just a baseball. The whole time, Eddy Martinez sat right beside him being ignored until the last few minutes before they went back to the locker room. And on his way back to the locker room, I said hello. So did he, and he patted me on the back. I immediately messaged Dave Wolfmeyer who told me never to wash my shirt again. So far, I have complied.

When the first game started, I sat down in what was supposed to be a camera well, which was just a wire screen and two wooden seats. For the next four innings, I sat with a sixth-grade bat boy. He was pretty excited as underneath his bat boy jersey was an Anthony Rizzo shirt. I immediately loved that kid. Anyway, for the next four innings, I spent most of the time teaching him about all of the South Bend Cubs and Eloy.

I did get several pictures close-ups and video of Eloy’s first three at-bats. Here is his first at bat on the day.

It is easy to see in the video what is great about his swing, which is pretty much everything. If you watch his hands and the balance his feet have, you can see why there is excitement for his power. Even though he only has nine home runs at the midway point, he has the potential to do so much more. Even at just 19, he is being pitched around like he is a veteran. He rarely gets a good pitch to hit. And if he does, it is usually a mistake which he pounces on.

In between games, I went back out on the field. I continued to watch Eloy for the first 10 minutes of the break. He did nothing but sign autographs after autograph after autograph at the tarp by the dugout. He did so faithfully and happily

Once he was done signing autographs, he went over and spent time with Eddy Julio Martinez. They talked at first and they threw a ball, got loose again followed by some exercise and drills, all the while laughing and smiling

In the second game, I got his first at-bat on video but then the battery started to run out. In the seventh-inning, Eloy did come through with a RBI single that proved to be the difference in the game. For the day, he went 2 for 7 with 1 RBI and is currently hitting .331 with 59 RBIs in 83 games on the year.

Considering the hype that surrounds Eloy, I came away very impressed with how he is handling everything. For a 19-year-old kid, he seems mature beyond that age. His attitude and demeanor will benefit him as he moves up the system.

Here are some pictures from Thursday night’s doubleheader.
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To see more pictures and video, click the links at the top of the page titled “Prospect Images” and “Prospect Video.”

 

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