During Saturday’s Fox regional coverage of the Dodgers-Giants game from San Francisco, analyst Tim McCarver mentioned that he had recently talked to Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, a professor of Spanish and Comparative Studies at Yale University and an expert in Cuban baseball history.
Noting that former MLB star Minnie Minoso once had the nickname “The Cuban Comet,” McCarver inquired about what could be appropriate for the game’s newest Cuban star, Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers.
El Cohete Cubano, replied Echevarria. Translated: The Cuban Rocket.
We reached out to Echevarria for further explanation — and to see if he had in fact voted for Puig in the latest on-line campaign to get the rookie outfielder with 33 games on his MLB resume a spot on the NL All-Star roster (voting ends Thursday at 1 p.m.)
Professor Echevarria replied via email, while on vacation, even explaining further how “cohete” can be translated into something more specific:
“I am tremendously impressed with Puig. I have never seen anyone, Cuban or otherwise, break into the Majors with such eclat. He plays as if he belonged in a higher league, if there were one.
“I remember how he was called out at Yankee Stadium trying to stretch an ordinary single into a double — replays showed that he was safe — and did it again, undeterred the next time and made it safely. He has great self confidence. The only Cuban player with comparable batting eye, power, speed, and arm was José Canseco. But I don´t remember Canseco making such a splash when he reached the Majors.
“Puig is explosive and soars, which is why I told Tim that Cohete Cubano — Cuban Missile or Firecracker — would be a good monicker for him. …
“I already voted for Puig, he deserves to be in the All Star game because, at present, there is no one as good as he is and the fans throughout the country will want to see him.”