Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Julio Urias Talks About His Fandom of Fernando Valenzuela

Dodgers pitchers Julio Urias was on MLB Network on Wednesday shortly before finding out he was being disrespected by the Cy Young voters with a third-place finish (our words, not his). During that conversation, the lefty from Culiacán, Mexico, was asked if he grew up a fan of Fernando Valenzuela, another left-handed pitcher from Mexico who starred for the Dodgers.

Julio gave a lengthy answer in Spanish, and Carlos Peña gave his summary.

“One hundred percent, yes, he knows Fernando and his story, and he feels privileged and honored to be wearing the same uniform as Fernando Valenzuela.”

You might notice that Julio’s answer is a lot longer than Peña’s translation. Before the part about feeling privileged and honored, Julio said:

“Of course, who wouldn’t be a fan of Fernando? If you’re Mexican, you know who he is. He is the star extraordinaire.”

(Thanks to my friend Yolanda for the translation.)

It’s interesting simply because Urias was 11 months old when Valenzuela threw his last pitch in the big leagues, and Fernando’s last game in a Dodger uniform came nearly six years before Julio was born. It’s a testament to Fernando’s legend and legacy in Mexico that Julio grew up admiring a guy he never saw play. We see a similar reverence for Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, both of whom died before any current big-leaguers had been born but provided lasting legacies for African American players and Latin American players, respectively.

Fernandomania was real in Los Angeles, but it was also real throughout Mexico.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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