Sep 28, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) and relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) celebrate on the field after defeating Baltimore Orioles 4-3 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
#5: Roberto Osuna is Cuban. Err…Dominican.
Uncertainty surrounding the nationality of Roberto Osuna became the most coincidental, and by far the funniest, part of this entire process. Broadcasters from these opposing markets were fascinated by the “Young Cuban closer for Toronto” or “The Blue Jays new closer out of the Dominican Republic”.
Two consecutive broadcast teams referred to Osuna as the “Cuban closer”, and while this is a relatively minor point that we shouldn’t expect individuals from other markets to bat 1.000 with, their consistency was impressive.
The takeaway, though, is the fascination these broadcasters had with Osuna, who was born in Juan Jose Rios, Sinaloa, Mexico just 20 years ago. The position of closer has become so volatile and unpredictable in the modern game that a player as young as Osuna really grabs one’s attention, and as Blue Jays fans, we’ve already come to accept this as normal.
That’s a good thing, by the way. Osuna’s mound presence, which can be attributed to pitching at such a young age in
Cuba Mexico, consistently passes him off as a much older and polished pitcher. Long-term closers with elite consistency are one of baseball’s rarest breeds currently, with Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera representing the ultimate goal. That’s a high bar, but as one broadcaster said in his fifth time bringing up Osuna that game, his age and talent give him a tantalizing career trajectory.
Next: Lesson #4: Toronto's oddly under-the-radar star