May 2024

The Man Who Came From Venezuela

Altenir Silva

Hector Cruz was dropped off by a bus in New York. He had turned 18 years old before leaving Venezuela two months ago.

When he arrived at the Mexico border, he paid 2000 bucks, which he had exchanged for a lot of Venezuelan bol铆vars, to a 'coyote' who smuggled illegal immigrants into the United States.

He waited for eight days before the coyote drove him to the other side of the world. Since his childhood, Hector had been hearing that the world has two parts, the poor side and the wealthy side. He, unfortunately, was born on the poor side.

Hector always lived in Petare, a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Caracas, the place where he discovered that he could throw a fastball at 100 miles per hour (mph), even after an exhaustive and impressive 110 pitches. Well, it was calculated by experienced players through visual observation; of course, it was an approximate result. But Hector had his fan club.

It was there that he got the nickname of "Mano de Hierro" (Iron Hand). Pay attention, these balls were the same ones used by MLB and were donated by the foundation of Jos茅 Altuve, the Venezuelan baseball second baseman for the Houston Astros.

So, when Hector arrived in Eagle Pass, a city in southwestern Texas, on the Rio Grande, only he and God knew what he had experienced. However, he was determined to make a living as the best pitcher in the Yankees bullpen.

Suddenly, he was forcibly placed onto a bus. However, what was supposed to be bad could turn out to be good when he discovered that the bus was heading to New York. Perhaps, he is on his way to his dream coming to life.

After spending over 35 hours on several highways inside the bus, he finally arrived in the Big Apple. Now, he needed to make his way to Yankee Stadium, but his hunger was so intense that he didn't think twice about rushing to a hot dog cart and quickly grabbing two pretzels before running away. The vendor cried out, "Get that thief!"

As Hector has always played to stay on the mound like any other pitcher, he couldn't run too fast, and soon he found himself surrounded by an NYPD officer who cried out, "Stop! Drop the pretzels and put your hands up!"

Hector didn't stop. Boom! Now, the Yankees fans will never see his fastball. The Yankees broadcaster will never say, "Swing and a miss! Strike three by Hector Cruz, The Iron Hand!" The Athletic from The New York Times will never profile the "Man who Comes from Venezuela." The Cy Young Award will never be in Hector's hands. Caracas will never receive its great hero, and his parents will never hug their son again. It is the end.

But sometimes destiny could work differently, and the police officer missed the shot. Hector was arrested and deported to Venezuela. There, he resumed playing baseball until he was discovered by a scout from Leones del Caracas, a team from the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

Thirteen years later, Baudilio Cruz, aged 12 and the son of Hector, was playing at University Stadium when a Texas Ranger scout observed his powerful pitches. Immediately, the scout arranged a future contract with the boy to allow him to play in MLB.

Let's play ball because we all need to dream.




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Altenir Silva is a Brazilian playwright and screenwriter working in mass media and communications, including Cinema, Theater, Television and the Web. His texts and scripts - both fiction and reality-based - have been presented , produced and performed in the US, the UK, and Brazil.
For more of his writings in Scene4, check the Archives.

©2024 Altenir Silva
©2024 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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