The last time the Dodgers were in the World Series, Julio Urías was just coming back from major shoulder surgery and was in a limited role against the Boston Red Sox. He tossed 3 scoreless innings as LA found itself desperately short on pitching (and bats) in the series.
Two years later, the now 24-year-old lefty out of Culiacan, Mexico finds himself in a critical role for the Dodgers. A role that has no official title, so let’s call it “ace swing man.” While the role is important for the team’s success, Julio also has the burden of a different role in this World Series.
As the Dodgers look to bring home their first title since the 1980s, the comparisons and links to another LA ace from the 80s always find Urías.
Fernando Valenzuela was a cultural icon in the city of angels over his career. Fernandomania brought great interest to the Dodgers and the game of baseball among the rich Mexican community in Los Angeles. Now, Julio Urías finds himself as something of the baseball liaison for Mexicanos in LA.
On Tuesday, he was asked about what that means to him.
“I’m really happy. Ever since my debut, ever since the moment I signed, we all know which team is the most popular amongst Latino people, amongst Mexican,” Julio said through a translator. “And it’s all because of what Fernando was able to do.”
Again, you do not get a mania named after you without doing something amazing like Fernando did. Now the kid out of Culiacan is trying to do what Valenzuela did for Los Angeles nearly 40 years ago. Bring home a ring.
“And I’m very blessed that I’m a part of the organization and that I’m a part of the World Series, and I’m not going to rest until we win those four games. I’m going to try to do it for the fans in LA, for the fans in Mexico, and for all those fans that send me messages of encouragement.”
Whether it’s as a starter, or bulk guy, or even a closer, Julio Urías will play a big role in the success of the Dodgers in this final series of the MLB season. But his role to the Hispanic community may be just as big on the biggest stage in the game.