By Andy Villamarzo, special to MSBL National
January 14, 2017, Kissimmee, FL - At age 45, former Major League Baseball pitcher Jose Contreras has seen his best years go by.
former New York Yankee, Chicago White Sox hurler came over to the
United States in October, 2002 when Contreras defected from Cuba while
playing for the country's national team. Leaving his home country,
Contreras landed a contract with the Yankees and moved on after two
seasons to play for the White Sox, in which is where the hard throwing
right-hander found his most success on the south side of Chicago.
helped bring home a World Series
championship to Chicago in 2005 and
finished with regular season statistics of 154 strikeouts, a 3.61 earned
run average and a record of 15-7. After concluding his time in the MLB
in 2013, Contreras has continued to
stay involved with the game of
baseball in anyway possible. From playing in Taiwan
for the Chinatrust
to just a few short months ago pitching in Mexico
for the Tigres de Quintana Roo
, Contreras has continued to play baseball
wherever he can possible.
road has led to playing in the MSBL, which is where Contreras has now
brought his talents to and now plays with the Dade City Brewers of Pasco
County, located near Tampa, Florida. This past Saturday morning, Contreras
started at pitcher for the Brewers and looked every bit as tough as he
did back during his MLB days.
the love of baseball," Contreras
said on why he's begun playing with
in the MSBL. "I love baseball so much. I've accomplished so
much stuff throughout my career, but I still love baseball and I still
have the itch to continue playing. The guys on the team are friends
to me and I get to continue doing what I love to do."
asked about the comparison of playing professionally and in the MSBL,
Contreras offered that there wasn't too much more of a difference to
him, as baseball is all the same. Outside of the strenuous preparation
set forth by managers in the MLB, Contreras believes that baseball is
baseball, no matter what level it's played at.
is the same for me," Contreras said. "The concepts and everything are
the same. The difference is in the big leagues, you prepare to be in the
big leagues but you always have to prepare. If there's a bat, there's a
ball, they can hit you. To me, it's basically all the same. At this
level of baseball, I am surprised with the amount of good talent around (the MSBL)."
just started playing with the Brewers
very recently, with Saturday
starting off as the 45-year old's first go within the MSBL
Despite only having just a handful of experience of playing in MSBL
tournaments with the Brewers, Contreras stated that he's seen some good
competition player wise and his hopes are to help lead Dade City
potential championship in the near future.
love it," Contreras said of going up against the players in the MSBL
tournament. "I see sometimes guys see me and they say here comes a big
leaguer, but I don't feel like that going into a game. I like to share
my experiences of the game to all of the guys around. The teams have
good quality (in the MSBL). It's my first time on this team, but that's
why we're all here. To win a championship."