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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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