Baton Rouge, La — LSU freshman Chris Chinea may not play every inning (or every game, for that matter), but he's found a vital role on the Tiger baseball team in his first year in Baton Rouge.
The Tiger traditional pregame huddle is normally led by an upperclassmen - someone who's been through the battles and has just the right words to get the team in the right mind.
“He is a freshman and steps right in, that's a big role to fill,” stated senior outfielder Raph Rhymes. “That can be pretty intimidating to get in that huddle and call everybody up. it shows he has some leadership ability in him, and that is good.”
Typically, the guy who calls the other players up uses English as well.
"One day, I was doing it in Spanish right before the game, and Mason (Katz) saw me and said, ‘Why don't you do that in the middle today?’ I did it that game, and we won by a lot. He said you are doing it (in Spanish) from now on," said Chinea.
The Miami native uses his first language, Espanol, to get the job done.
The only players on the team who know what Chinea is saying are Alex Bregman and Christian Ibarra, who can both speak Spanish. Regardless, it's been working for the number two-ranked Tigers, and Chinea will continue embracing the role he's assumed off the field while he waits patiently for every chance he gets to play on it.
Chinea is a backup catcher and has seven hits on the year. He's expected to compete for a starting job next season.