During the off-season I fulfilled some goals that were feel-good accomplishments.
On one of my previous posts I explained how my nickname, “Tsunami,” came about. I decided to call my foundation “Tsunami Waves” — making waves in the community. Interaction with kids and giving back to my community is something I take pride in. Last season the foundation created a glove drive that collected an enormous amount of gloves that were distributed to underprivileged kids.
In preparation for the 2016 season, I hit the gym with Cardinals’ trainers to build endurance, strength and flexibility. I spent three months in Jupiter, Fla., focused on getting back on the mound. I had a lot of free time to think and reflect back on my first year as a starter in the Big Leagues, I’m proud of what I was able to contribute to my team. Those thoughts are my motivation, because I know I have so much more to give. My primary focus was getting my body ready but I couldn’t help but think about the hundreds of kids back home in Dominican Republic who were awaiting my arrival.
In an effort to show everyone where I come from and the impact we were able to make with the glove drive, I decided to produce this video:
I hope you like it and thanks for helping the cause!
It’s going to be hard having to sit out for the rest of the season, but I will be in the dugout rooting our guys on and doing all I can to help to get us as far as possible in the playoffs.
Our team is prepared for anything. Our clubhouse has much more to accomplish. We are a group of grinders on a mission and won’t stop grinding until our final out.
I personally have a second mission, and that is to give back to underprivileged kids. As you already may know, I was that kid with no glove and no spikes, but I had dreams of one day playing in the big leagues. Now that I’m capable of giving back, I’m totally involved in this cause.
With my foundation, Tsunami Waves, I donate equipment on a yearly basis to underprivileged kids in my home town Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. In efforts to collect as many gloves as possible, I’m starting a glove drive in the St. Louis area that will benefit these kids who are in need.
If you’d like to take part in this drive, please take your new or used glove to the addresses below and receive a signed picture of me as a token of my appreciation:
St Louis Sports Co.
291 Chesterfield Center
Chesterfield, MO 63017
(Next to Cheesecake Factory)
West County Mall
139 West County Center
Des Peres, MO 63131, firstname.lastname@example.org
phone: (636) 542-2140
(Upstairs, near Apple Store)
If you can’t make it to the drop-off locations, you also can ship gloves to the address below. We are collecting all the gloves before sending them to the DR. We will mail you a picture as well!
c/o APN Cargo
20910 Sheridan St
Ft Lauderdale, FL 33332
The Esurance All-Star Game Final Vote closes at 3 p.m. CT. Let’s stay in first so #VoteTsunami and #VoteMo! Thanks!
#CardinalsNation, I need your help! I’m currently in third place in the #FinalVote race, but I know for a fact that Cardinal Nation can move me up to first! Being considered for the All-Star Game is nice but I truly want to represent the Cardinals this year in Cincinnati!
It would mean the world to me to accompany my teammates, and represent the Cardinal Red and the #18 Jersey on one of the biggest stages in all of Baseball. I know we can do this! Text N4 to 89269 to cast your vote, or visit cardinals.com/vote now! Share this post and get the word out! While you’re at it, please vote for Mike Moustakas of the Royals as part of our #VoteMo alliance that was announced today.
LET’S GIVE CINCINNATI THE FIRST TSUNAMI IN THEIR HISTORY! LET’S DO THIS! #VoteTsunami
I’ve set a goal to help inspire youth in the community. Some may ask, “Why that cause?” I was once a kid who never envisioned the opportunity to explore life outside of my city limits. I came from very humble beginnings, pretty much dirt poor, but I was fine being me. I know what it feels like to have limited opportunity and to live day to day with hollow dreams.
I would like to inspire a little kid like me to strive and be the best at whatever he or she has in mind, with the understanding that the world is filled with opportunity and everyone has a way to fulfill their dreams. Hopefully my story can impact the life of another.
I recently visited kids at St. Cecilia School in St. Louis and at Granby Park in Fairmont City, Illinois. We had a meet-and-greet and played some baseball. The kids were happy to play and acknowledge there are people in this world working to inspire them just to see a smile.
Watch the video:
Welcome to my new blog. The nickname “Tsunami” is a story in itself, so to make a long story short, here it is.
As a kid, I had Big League dreams like any other youth baseball player from Puerto Plata, D.R. For me it was more than putting on a Major League Baseball uniform, playing on TV, or having my name chanted by thousands of fans. I had the vision of getting my family out of poverty, having a future and making my hometown proud. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs on my road to the Big Leagues, but for the sake of this blog let’s just say there was a WAVE of adversity.
Although very skinny and smaller-sized as a teenager, I felt I had the ability to play the game as a position player. I was a confident hitter. I felt I could hit at the higher levels, but after many failed attempts to perform in front of MLB scouts as a shortstop, my coach convinced me to start pitching due to my God-given arm strength. The conversion (playing shortstop to pitching) was a long process; I wanted to quit playing baseball all together.
Thinking of my family’s living conditions (which were some of the worst Puerto Plata had to offer) was what kept my aspiration and desire to succeed. We lived in a humble home made of wood, with a tin roof next to a polluted creek.
My grandmother raised me but I call her mom. Here I am with her, and in the first pic above I’m between her and uncle Winston.
I still remember rainy days when the creek would overflow into our living room and mom would raise all the furniture to high ground before it would float away. It literally looked like a wave of water was going to wash our home away….and that’s not the reason they call me Tsunami….hahaha.
After many tryouts and contract offers, I eventually signed with the Cardinals in 2010 for an unexpected $1.5MM contract. It was one of the happiest days of my life because for the moment I felt I had made it! I was able to get my family out of poverty; we purchased a beautiful brick home in a high-end neighborhood called “Torre Alta” (High Tower):
I always go back to the community that watched me grow and I will never forget where I came from. Now it was time to secure our future long-term and start my quest to the Big Leagues.
In my first year of pro ball at the rookie level Dominican Summer League, I was throwing pitches in the high 90’s, touching 102 mph. My fastball velocity was the talk of the town; I had local fans cheering me on at every start. One fan yelled from the stands, “This kid is so dominant, he’s like a Tsunami taking over this league.” Soon after that, everyone at the Cardinals’ Dominican Academy was calling me Tsunami. That was the birth of my new name, but still, I was the same kid from Puerto Plata with Big League dreams. I had the hype but I stayed focus on my preparation and the desire to get to the Major Leagues.
I thank God every day for giving me the blessing. I continued to pitch well enough to have the Cardinals send me to the United States. Once I arrived in Jupiter, Fla., all my teammates heard I was nicknamed the Tsunami and I’ve been called that ever since. I actually got a tattoo with it on my throwing arm, which you can see here. It reminds me of my struggles and it keeps me motivated to reach my potential. I have a long way to go, but for the moment I’m proud to say I’m a Big Leaguer.
My learning lesson from all of this: Life is a blessing. If you have a God-given talent, focus on it, develop it and life will throw you a WAVE of opportunity…then it’s up to you to make the best of it.