CHICAGO -- Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor is proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, and he is excited to see the island represented at the biggest stage in baseball, the 2016 World Series.
Along with Lindor, the Indians’ catcher, Roberto Perez, and Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez hail from Puerto Rico. And all have had a positive impact for their respective teams heading into tonight’s Game 4 matchup at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
“This is awesome,” Lindor said. “Seeing Perez, how he stepped up for us, not only yesterday but throughout the whole postseason, and the last month of the season helping us, it's awesome. It feels pretty good.”
From backup catcher at the start of the year to key all-around player on a World Series team, Perez has come a long way during the 2016 season, and it is paying dividends at the perfect time.
In Tuesday’s 6-0 win over the Cubs in Game 1 of the World Series at Progressive Field Tuesday night, Perez belted two home runs and drove in four runs in the Indians’ return to the Fall Classic for the first time in 19 years.
On the other side of the scorecard, Baez has collected 15 hits, including four doubles and one home run, with seven runs scored and seven RBI during the postseason.
“Every time he walks to the plate, he looks like he's mad, but he's not, and that's how he always played the game,” Lindor said. “It's like, 'Alright, you've got to be careful with this guy.' And seeing him on second base enjoying the game, and doing his plays and people thinking he's not -- when he would, like the pop-up, he kind of like went to the side, and people in the dugout are like, ‘Oooh!’
“That's how he always been. He's always played like that. He's not doing it to show anybody up. He's a little kid on the field, and I love it. I love it. Every time he does something good or bad, I look at him like, ‘Wow, that's pretty cool.’”
Lindor hopes everyone back in Puerto Rico is watching the World Series proudly, and he very much looks forward to representing the country in the World Baseball Classic next spring, but not before bringing home a championship.
“For the people in Puerto Rico, they're very excited,” Lindor said. “They're excited, and they should be. We're doing it for them, so they should be excited. I hope they are because every time we do something, we're thinking about it. We're thinking about our plan for the World Baseball Classic, and it's going to be fun. It's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it.”