PULASKI, Va. (WFXR) — What does it take to be a leader? There is a Pulaski River Turtles catcher who the embodiment of the word on the diamond. With his first season of Appalachian League baseball under his belt – second year – catcher Irvin Escobar continues to step up to the plate – especially as one of the leaders in the dugout.
“You’re born a leader but also you have to develop those skills and for me it’s been a great opportunity to come back, and you know help these younger guys and help them learn the game and develop their baseball IQ. With the help of Clark and Ted and obviously Roger. I got the chance and the opportunity to work more closely with them,” said Escobar.
The Puerto Rican native is no stranger to the baseball world – his grandfather was a co-owner of a baseball team in the Caribbean – while his brother and even his mother took their talents to the baseball diamond as well. Now the Bethune Cookman junior – is using the knowledge he’s learned to help his team.
“It means a lot because I can transmit the information a little bit more for them for the players. You know I’m pretty happy that they can count on me whenever they need me,” said Escobar. Even his coaches look to him as an extension of themselves.
“Every team needs a leader a guy that can give the younger players and idea of what to expect and Irv does that better than anybody…you know we let him call the game you know we don’t call the games for these kids. I think he appreciated that, and his leadership means a lot because he’s what I call a grinder. If I say you’re in the lineup, he says thanks and he never wants to come out of the lineup he’d catch everyday if he could,” said Pulaski River Turtles manager Clark Crist.
Escobar is already putting those coaching skills to good use. “He’s a little bit of a coach on the field so he helps us that way he understands the game and he’s gotten better and better at it. I mean he could continue to be a coach or do something in game because of his knowledge and it takes work and he pays attention,” said Crist.
“I feel blessed that they gave me that shot and that opportunity to be a second leader you know what I saying. Just to be here makes it feel like a second home for me,” said Escobar.
Escobar continues to hone his skills on the diamond and is currently looking to make it back to the Appalachian League Championship Game.