CHICAGO — There are a number of adjectives to describe the contributions which “El Mago” makes to the Chicago Cubs on a daily basis.
Electric, exciting, enthralling.
All could apply to Javier Baez’s style of play, which has made him one of the most popular players in all of baseball.
Yet the infielder, who makes his second All-Star start in as many years Tuesday in Cleveland, used a video on Monday to show that his goals in his major league career are quite simple, and have a lot to do with where he comes from.
“Call me what you want, I just wanna play,” said Baez at the end of a one-minute video that he and the MLB posted on Twitter.
It features video of himself as a young player in Puerto Rico with pictures of his family spliced in throughout. It then goes through his early days in baseball in America as he worked to make it to the major leagues, and then to his recent success with the Cubs.
It’s been quite a journey from Baez, who debuted with the Cubs in 2014 and was the NLCS MVP in 2016 as the team won their first pennant in 71 years. In 2018, he hit .290 with 34 homers and 111 RBI as he was named a finalist for the National League MVP award.
So far in 2019, Baez has a slash line of .289/.324/.556 with 22 homers and 62 RBI as he was voted into the starting lineup for the NL All-Star team for a second-straight year.