Francisco Lindor Article:
By Del Duduit
“Has (Francisco) Lindor come in yet?” I asked the gentleman perched on a stool outside the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse a couple of hours before a recent home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Not yet,” he replied. “But you’ll know when he does. He’ll be the one smiling. He’s always smiling.”
I thought what a wonderful way to be characterized. He must have a tremendous attitude, and I can’t wait to meet him. I had watched him play, but I never had the opportunity to chat with him.
“Here he comes,” the man told me.
He was right. No wonder Lindor carries the nickname “Mr. Smile.”
Many athletes wear emotions on their jersey sleeves. Some will break a bat over a knee if they strike out. Others might beat up the unsuspecting water cooler because they think it has taunted them, or they kick the base which never says a bad word to the players. In fact, it’s always there for them.
Not Lindor. His smile has a tremendous message – he is happy and content.
And why not? He just came off his second All-Star producing season as the shortstop for the Indians.
Over the past three seasons, his average at the plate is .293 with 60 home runs and 218 runs-batted-in. On the defensive side, he shines brighter than his pearly whites.
In more than 3,600 innings and 1,674 plays in the field, Lindor has committed only 32 errors for an incredible .981 fielding percentage. In 2016, he won a Gold Glove and a Platinum Glove Award for his efforts on defense. He became the first Puerto Rican-born shortstop to win a Gold Glove.
He is the mark of consistency, and it comes as no surprise the letters “BC” are sewn into his Rawlings glove. The letters stand for “Be Consistent.”
I take a different view. After I spoke with Lindor, I would have to say the letters stand for “Be Content.”
That is how I view his attitude and demeanor.
He keeps life in perspective and is aware there is a much higher power.
Last year, his sister battled cancer, and it was touch and go for a while. He prayed and stayed faithful, and his sister’s illness went into remission.
“You just have to leave it in God’s hands,” he said. “I prayed and just left it with Him. That did not mean I didn’t care, because I do. It just means you have to trust God in all things. He will take care of you.
Sometimes it’s hard to just leave your cares with the Lord, but you have to, or it will drive you crazy.”
He credits his success to his work ethic and his upbringing in Caguas, Puerto Rico. His father taught him at a young age to be consistent and dependable. He received encouragement to not only work hard, but to do it the right way.
“If you practice something wrong, then you will do it wrong all the time,” he said. “I practiced fielding techniques the right way.”
He was also taught life is precious and to be enjoyed.
“Too many people walk around with a frown,” he said. “Not me. I love life, playing baseball and God. He has been so good to me.”
Lindor often encourages youngsters to continue to work hard to reach their goals. He makes a point to try to set a positive example with his attitude and outlook on life.
“I tell kids that everyone has ability, you just have to find time to dedicate yourself and get better.” He said. “This did not happen for me overnight. It took years of work and practice and prayer.”
Lindor is adored in Cleveland. The fans love his attitude and his hustle. They embrace an athlete who stands for the right causes and never appears in the news in a bad light.
And they love his contagious beam from ear to ear.
“I’m happy,” he said with a big smile. “It’s all because I trust in God. If I did not have faith, I’d be in a bad place right now.”
Del Duduit is a freelance writer who lives in Lucasville, Ohio. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog/ and on Twitter @delduduit.