Blue Jays: Roberto Osuna an example to follow

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 14: Roberto Osuna
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 14: Roberto Osuna /

Roberto Osuna has accomplished a lot throughout this short career, and continues to show why he’s a great role model for baseball fans.

As we’re just a day away from Christmas (crap! I need to go shopping when I’m done this), the free agent hot stove is likely to shut down for a day or two as folks all over baseball take a break in order to spend some time with their families.

One player who is doing just that is Blue Jays’ closer Roberto Osuna, who made the trip home to Mexico in order to spend time with his family, and with the community where he grew up. The fireballer was born in Juan Jose Rios, Sinaloa, Mexico, and calls Los Mochis his hometown.

On Saturday, pictures popped up on Twitter of Osuna playing the part of Santa Claus for his home community, passing out gifts from the back of a truck bed. A quick scroll through the images posted on Twitter by shows the faces of happy children, and even one with an elderly lady who is receiving a gift from the Blue Jays’ closer.

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It’s not uncommon for professional athletes to pour into their home communities, especially when they come from areas that are less fortunate than the cities where players spend their time in the United States and Canada. However, as a 22 year old, Osuna continues to display the type of maturity, both on and off the field, that has made him such a successful big leaguer.

It’s also very clear that he appreciates his roots, and hasn’t forgotten how hard he worked to get where he is today. In fact, a quick scan of Osuna’s Wikipedia page will reveal that he dropped out of school at the age of 12 in order to help support his family, and worked picking vegetables with his father, who was a pitcher in the Mexican League for 22 seasons himself. Once the work was done for the day, the two of them would turn their focus to Roberto Jr’s pitching technique, and clearly his Dad knew a thing or two.

Not only was he forced to grow up a bit early (by North American standards anyway), he was competing against men in the Mexican professional leagues by the age of 16, where he made 13 appearances for Diablos Rojos del México in 2011. By 2012, the Blue Jays had signed him to join their organization, and he made his MLB debut by the age of 20, also becoming the youngest player to crack the big leagues in team history. You don’t accomplish these things so early in life without a lot of hard work.

As if that wasn’t enough from a 22 year old role model, he was cast into the spotlight in 2017 when he talked about dealing with feelings of anxiety during the season, opening up an important dialogue around the game among players, organizational personnel, media, and fans alike. Whether that was his intention or not, speaking up about the issue was a positive development for baseball, and professional sport in general.

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While he had some struggles on the mound last season, Osuna is the type of talented arm that an organization can build a bullpen around. When you add in the fact that by accounts he’s a great human being, the Blue Jays’ have to be counting their blessings that they signed him back in 2012, and that he’ll be under team control for a minimum of three more seasons.