Julio Urias, the man on the hill when the Los Angeles Dodgers ended their 32-year title drought earlier this week, didn’t fully understand that he had just won the World Series with his strike against Willy Adames of the Tampa Bay Rays . One thing that will stick with the Mexican left-hander, however, is the moment during the celebration when he might finally call Clayton Kershaw a champion.
“The truth is, I’m very happy for him and his family,” Urias told ESPN Mexico. “One of the moments I will remember most was the hug he and I shared, or rather the one he gave me. He’s our example to look up to as teammates, but he came to me to hug me like that, to share the words that he did. “
Urias, who wore a # 8 Kobe Bryant jersey in honor of the late Los Angeles Lakers legend who backed the Dodgers during their series run two years ago, discussed Kershaw, comparisons with Fernando Valenzuela, and the bullying he was about as a child his eye endured condition with ESPN Mexico on Wednesday via video call. Kershaw, whom Urias referred to as “the horse,” won his first World Series after years of previous postseason fighting. As Urias recorded the latest strike, Kershaw emerged from the bullpen with arms raised and beamed until the celebration.
“If there is one person that the whole team can be proud and happy of after winning a championship, it is him [Kershaw]”Said Urias.” He’s got everything, won everything, and the only thing missing was a title. “
Urias took a 4-0 lead with 1.17 ERA and 29 spikes in 23 innings in the 2020 extended postseason. While he also recorded the parade in Game 6 of the Dodgers 3-1 win in Game 6, it was a Mexican compatriot pitcher Victor Gonzalez who claimed the win – he became the country’s fourth pitcher to do the feat in a World Series accomplished. As with Kershaw, Urias shared a special moment with Gonzalez in the post-game celebration.
“That was one of the most wonderful hugs when I could tell him, ‘We did it!'” Said Urias. “For those who don’t know, he lost his father a few years ago and it was difficult for him. I remember telling him this was for him, so obviously those tears were bigger. Man gets goose bumps just thinking about this moment. “”
Mexico’s presence on the Dodgers pitching team didn’t go unnoticed by fans in the south, who quickly compared the 24-year-old starter Urias to the 1981 icon and champion Valenzuela. For his part, Urias was quick to point out that Valenzuela is unique.
“It feels good because it’s fantastic to be compared to someone else. But like I said, there’s only one Fernando, there’s only one Fernando, and he’s the one who runs the Los Angeles stadiums and the on the street has filled. “said Urias. “That was an incredible thing that won’t happen again.”
As a child, Urias had surgery to remove a benign mass from behind his left eye, which caused his eyelid to fall off. The following weeks of hospitalization in Guadalajara or mockery in the school yard did not stop him from the game he loved. But that hasn’t stopped the doubters and bullying at youth tournaments in his hometown of Culiacan, where he said children can be relentless.
“The first questions were, ‘What happened, what’s wrong with you?’ Or ‘Do you really think that with this problem you will achieve your dream?’ “Said Urias.
“But for me it was never an obstacle. You have to learn to live with it. Yeah, I’ve been through this, but it’s not like I can say I won’t leave the house. I don’t want to go to school go play baseball if that has always been my life. Those who have known me since childhood know I was all about bat, ball and glove. So what else can I do but keep playing? That was my life and look at us, here we are as champions. “