BOSTON -- The moment had finally arrived, the wordless dream that had driven him to risk it all, including leaving his family and friends back in his native Cuba, and Jose Iglesias … couldn’t find his glove?
"Field of Dreams," this isn’t.
Hard enough that his heart was racing, much as it was when he had driven with a friend across the Canadian border to freedom over two years ago. Emotional enough that it was Mothers Day and his mamita, for whom he had shamelessly cried since he left, was still back in his native Cuba. Nerve-wracking enough, to be the youngest shortstop in 40 years to be making his debut for the Red Sox.
And now, he can’t. Find. His. Glove?
Was this somebody’s idea of a joke?
Well, yes, actually. Marco Scutaro’s.
“Scutaro hid my glove,’’ Iglesias said through translator Eddie Romero, who in his day job works for the Sox as the team’s assistant director, Latin American operations.
We’ll set the scene for you. Ninth inning Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox are comfortably ahead, and manager Terry Francona informs the newest arrival on the team, No. 68, to enter the game at short in place of Jed Lowrie, whose work was done for the day after a two-run double in the seventh and an assist on Danny Valencia’s ground ball to end the eighth.
Iglesias, who had been summoned the day before from Scranton, Pa., where he’d been playing with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, because Scutaro was about to go on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle, went to the place on the Sox bench he’d left his glove, only to discover it was gone.
While his teammates began jogging out to their positions, Iglesias frantically launched a search. Anxious? “Yes,’’ he said, “especially because I couldn’t find it.’’
It’s a little unclear what happened next, except that Iglesias, presumably with the help of mischief-maker Scutaro, found his glove, hidden behind the TV camera at the end of the Sox dugout.
“Si,’’ said Iglesias, who was not smiling. “Comico.’’
On the whole, then, how did he feel about his day?
“Contento,’’ he said. “Contento.’’
That requires no translation.
Jason Varitek, the team captain, laughed when told of Scutaro’s stunt. “That’s great,’’ he said.
No, Varitek said, nobody had messed with him quite like that before his debut.
“My first hit, I got back the ball, and it looked like a little kid had written on it with crayon,’’ he said. “And it was dunked in ketchup and mustard.’’
Just boys being boys, messing with him. They were holding the original, which they presented him, properly inscribed with his name, the occasion and the date.
Perhaps because of all the hype even before Iglesias got here, his teammates may be unified in their desire to keep him humble. Bilingual first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who had befriended Iglesias in camp this spring, was asked if he’d taken the time to describe the lay of the land to Iglesias upon his arrival Sunday.
“Yeah,’’ Gonzalez said, “I told him to make sure he has the drinks we need on the bus. That’s his job.’’