D-backs’ Eduardo Escobar is hitting doubles and taking names
PHOENIX — Infielder Eduardo Escobar has two tasks in Arizona.
The first one: Help the Diamondbacks win as many games as possible in their playoff hunt.
The second: Learn everybody’s name.
“A lot of guys here have hard names,” he said with a laugh.
Despite that, he connected quickly with the team and fellow Venezuelan, left fielder David Peralta.
“First thing he told me… ‘I feel like I’ve been with this team for a long time,’” left fielder David Peralta said. “This is who we are, we’re trying to make everybody feel like family.”
After spending seven years with the Minnesota Twins organization, it’s a big change for Escobar. Once the trade was announced, he tweeted a photoshopped photo of himself, wearing a suit, towering over the Twins’ stadium as a rainbow shined overhead.
“To tell you the truth, I (was) so sad,” he said. “I said thank you, Minnesota Twins fans, for supporting me seven years. Everyone pushed me to be a better person, a better player.”
THANK YOU Minnesota! I want to say thank you to my family, Twins front office, teammates, coaches, trainers and friends who day after day supported me and challenged me to be a better baseball player, a better person. Know that the Twins will always mean a lot to me. Wearing > pic.twitter.com/PGCdgbRj4Q
— eduardo jose escobar (@escobarmaracay) July 27, 2018
The larger-than-life photo encapsulates his game and his personality. Peralta said Escobar has “good energy,” and based on the fans in Venezuela, where the two D-backs have played against each other, it makes sense.
“We’re kind of wild,” Peralta said. “We like this kind of stuff, we’re kind of different.”
The fans are noisy. They boo and hiss. Some bring drums.
In fact, Venezuela is constructing the largest stadium in South America. Later this year, 37,000 people will be able to attend a game.
Yet, that’s smaller than most MLB stadiums. Chase Field can hold more than 48,000.
“There’s a lot of people,” Escobar said, emphasizing “a lot.”
But Peralta said the atmosphere from Venezuelan games has helped him in the United States.
“When you’re playing and you have the huge crowd and everything, you don’t get nervous, you can control your stomach because you get used to it,” Peralta said. “The way we grew up, I think playing baseball with that kind of stuff, I think it helps a lot.”
Now, entering his first series at Chase Field, Escobar’s ready to chase a playoff series.
This season, Escobar lived up to the crowd’s demands. His 38 doubles lead the league, and his .277 batting average is a career-high. He will fill a role at third base, a position that has lacked production for the D-backs this season and seen a fair share of injuries, including multiple to Jake Lamb.
Escobar is also versatile. He has played shortstop and second base for Minnesota this year, allowing manager Torey Lovullo to move him around as needed.
Beyond the field, Escobar’s personality can shine in the locker room.
He jokingly called himself the funniest guy in the league. He takes pride in giving people joy. Bringing people together not only helps the team bond, but it helps them play better.
“It’s the most important thing in baseball,” he said. “Baseball’s hard, but when you have a great group … everybody’s together, everybody’s happy.”
All that will help him take care of his short-term goal of learning his teammates’ names.
“Give me three or four days, I’ll be ready,” he said.