CHICAGO — The first Major League victory for Jose Quintana was viewed on television by more than just Chicago fans or baseball fans across the United States.
Friday’s contest was actually broadcast live back in Colombia, Quintana’s native country, where his family had the chance to watch him in action.
“It’s big for my country,” said Quintana, through translator and White Sox director of cultural relations Jackson Miranda. “There aren’t that many Colombian players.
“So, it’s something that when one of us is playing in a game, people gather around different bars and they watch the game. They televise the games down there for us so it’s actually kind of a big story.”
Quintana joins talented Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri and Marlins infielder Donovan Solano as the only three current active Colombians in Major League Baseball. Prior to both Major League call-ups for Quintana, numerous Colombian media outlets were tweeting his White Sox arrival before it was officially announced.
That thorough press coverage gives some indication of the pride taken in its players by Colombia, where Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera stand as the most accomplished hometown heroes. Quintana feels the same pride back toward Colombia.
“I have a lot of pride,” Quintana said. “I want to put my country on the map. So, by me being able to do this every time, not only myself but even the other Colombians, it’s a great feeling.”
Colombian broadcasts figure to be working overtime again Wednesday afternoon, when manager Robin Ventura strongly indicated that Quintana would get a second start after allowing just two runs over six innings against Cleveland. Quintana is filling in for John Danks while he’s on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, and his success brings greater popularity to baseball back home.
“There are about five cities all on the coastal sides where baseball is really big,” said Quintana, who is from Arjona, Colombia. “One of the cities is where I’m from. They play baseball all the time. They keep up with it, and it’s big there.”