DENVER – For Colorado Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela, it has been a whirlwind, surreal trip around the sun.
A year ago, he missed the vast majority of his Double-A season with an injury and then after the tragic death of his mother due to cancer.
In a season that has seen the Mark Reynolds Renaissance, the Gerardo Parra Rebound, and the Bullpen Boom, it has been 22-year-old Senzatela whose story is the most inspirational. We are fond of saying that sports are not life and death. This is true. But oftentimes, they are life. This game, silly as it is, is something a great deal of people — myself included — have given large chunks of our time … of our life … to.
Senzatela says he pitches to make his mother proud.
It’s absurd to believe that if his numbers were less stellar, that wouldn’t be the case, but it’s just human nature to see a kid who is 5-1 and leading the team with a 2.86 ERA and an NL Rookie of the Month award and not get a bit teary-eyed. If the story hasn’t been emotional enough, as fate would have it, Senzatela is scheduled, Bud Black confirmed today, to pitch the final game of the Rockies-Dodgers series this Sunday afternoon. Mother’s day. Make sure you have a box of Kleenex ready.
Sunday is Mother’s Day and the 22-year-old Senzatela will start. It will be dusty at Coors Field. https://t.co/PPZwlXvFRw
— Jake Shapiro (@Shapalicious) May 11, 2017
It’s already been a wild ride for the Rockies righty. He described each surprising moment as his smile grew wider and wider. “I make the team. I’m really happy. I make the rotation … more happy. I get to 5-1? That’s really good. Just try to keep it going.”
It will be an emotional day on Sunday, but the most impressive thing about the rookie has been the way he has managed to keep his emotions in check. His last time out, he faced the defending champion Chicago Cubs in a bases-loaded, nobody out situation and managed to work out of it allowing just one run and still picking up the win.
He said to himself on the mound: “Ok, now it’s my time, take it easy and make a quality pitch right here.”
Now is his time, indeed. This Sunday, Mother’s Day — his first without mom — Antonio Senzatela, no matter what happens, will make a whole lot of people incredibly proud.