Catching up with little brother
Wilin Rosario pays visit to Suplizio
It wasn’t that long ago Wilin Rosario was toiling in the Pioneer League for the Casper Ghosts.
Monday, the Colorado Rockies’ starting catcher returned to the league, watching his younger brother, Jairo, catch for the Grand Junction Rockies.
“Everybody wanted to come watch him play,” Wilin said after signing countless autographs before throwing the ceremonial first pitch to Jairo at Suplizio Field. “I was like him a couple of years ago in Casper, in 2007 and 2008, and now he’s here. It’s fun.”
Wilin Rosario was a Pioneer League All-Star in 2008 and was Baseball America’s top prospect from the league. He doesn’t remember much from those days other than, “I hit a lot of bombs. That’s all I remember. I crushed,” he said, grinning.
The elder Rosario, who attended the game with several members of his family, said when he was in Rookie ball he was a little more advanced physically than his brother, but Jairo is further along mentally.
“He’s playing pretty well. He’s a smart player,” Wilin Rosario said. “He knows what he’s doing. I think that he has a lot that I (didn’t) have at that time. He’s concerned about what he’s doing, he’s thinking everything before (it happens).
“I might have a little more ability than him by that time, but he has a better mind than mine. I think that’s why he’s as good as he is right now.”
The brothers, who grew up in Bonao, Dominican Republic, speak every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes, and it’s special to both that they’re in the same organization. Jairo singled and scored in the second inning for the GJ Rockies.
“I like to hear what he thinks,” Wilin said. “I’ve already been (in Rookie ball), so I can help him. That’s part of development, if you have somebody by you that can help you get better to help you do well. It’s a big help. I try to keep contact and have a relationship.
“When we were back home, I tried to tell him everything that he’s going to see (in the U.S.), what kind of food, what the first (English) words he needs to say. That’s why I say he’s got a better mind than me, because when I first got here, nobody told me nothing. Nobody told me the U.S. was going to be like this.”
Wilin Rosario spent the first day of the All-Star break in Grand Junction catching his brother’s game before the young Rockies left town for a seven-game road trip to Billings and Great Falls.
“I know he feels proud to have me here with him,” Wilin said.
The Colorado catcher, who likes where the big club is sitting at the halfway point of the season, got his first look at a pitcher he could be catching one day, first-round draft pick Jon Gray.
“He’s a good kid. I met him inside. He looked good. Let’s see what he can do for this team. I’m going to be in the stands clapping for them and they already know I’m here. They’ve got to do something good,” Rosario, said, smiling.
“I think when you have a player like (Gray and Eddie Butler, now in Modesto), you make a decision; the game’s not going to change. It depends on what decisions he makes in his life.
“He can be in the majors sooner than later, it just depends on how he works, how he’s been doing in the ballgame. This is not an easy game, but he’s going to be there and we hope it will be soon.”
He met the young Rockies before the game and left them with some sage advice.
“I only tell them one thing, every day you wake up you thank God for everything, for another day,” he said. “Try to be humble. That’s the only thing. Work hard. Who says the game is easy? Nobody. The game is not easy.
“Every day, in and out, you need to make good decisions, because you might make a bad decision outside of the lines that will put you out of the game for a long time.”