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Climbing the Ladder

by Robb Reel

I'll take Major League Baseball Players You Should Know But Don't Yet for 200, Alex.

The answer is: the Miami Marlins' shortstop making this amazing play.

Who is Adeiny Hechavarria?

There are plenty of people who have never lived in four places total, let alone before the age of 24.

... let alone four different countries by the age of 24.

Born in Cuba, Hechavarria played for the Junior National Team in 2008.  He then defected to Mexico in 2009.  He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 and made his big-league debut two years later.  An winter trade led him to start for the Marlins on Opening Day 2013.  He has demonstrated incredible athleticism all the while.

In baseball parlance, that kind of jumping grab is called "climbing the ladder."  I could say "that means two things" as this talent rising through the ranks toward stardom.  Frankly thought, that means three things for a young man from his part of the world.

Now, one of the things Americans take for granted is variety.  From geography and weather to food and entertainment, we have more choice here than the rest of the world combined.  That includes sports not just as spectators but as career opportunities.  In most of the world, there are only two choices for kids to get into sports.  Futbol [or "soccer" as we insist on calling it] is globally ubiquitous, except the US and maybe Canada and Australia.  For Europe, China, most of South America, and, yes, even Africa, basketball is the other big one.

In Central America and the Caribbean, baseball tops everything; it is certainly king in Hechavarria's native Cuba.  That is noteworthy because someone with such leaping ability would likely be steered toward basketball or "American football" here in the States.  [In Canada, it would've been hockey, but that's because it's Canada.]  Can you imagine Hechavarria playing for the Miami Heat -- alongside LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh -- instead of the Miami Marlins?

After that catch, I know I can.

Still, I am awfully glad that my sport has him to make such great highlights.