Four years ago, nobody had heard of Marcus Stroman.
The short, skinny kid from Long Island, who played his college ball at Duke, had just 24 career victories in the Major Leagues over the span of just three seasons.
In 2016, Stroman sported a 9-10 record with a 4.37 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched better in the playoffs last fall, but let’s be honest, the dude wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire.
Four years later, amidst insults hurled at both him and his mother, Stroman is on top of the baseball world after throwing a no-hitter for six innings against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic Final at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.
Stroman and the Americans put on a dominant performance in front of the half-American, half-Puerto Rican fans in attendance. Ironically, Stroman himself is of half-American and half-Puerto Rican descent, a mixture of ethnicities that the sinker ball pitcher received flak from on social media.
You see, Stroman famously tweeted back in 2013 that he wanted to represent his mother, who is of full Puerto Rican descent, during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Hopefully have the chance to represent my mom @aya11763 and Puerto Rico in the next World Baseball Classic! That would be unreal. #latinoboy
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) September 13, 2013
However, after pitching for the United States in College, Stroman received an invitation from Team USA general manager Joe Torre to participate in the 2017 edition of the tournament, an offer that Stroman accepted.
Needless to say, this irked many of the Puerto Rican fans who harassed Stroman’s mother on Twitter this week.
Storman told Fox Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal before the final game that his mother had been harassed on social media for his decision to pitch for the United States.
“A lot of people have been saying bad things to her on social media,” he told Rosenthal. “That’s my mother. I stand by her always. She supports me through everything. I don’t respect some of the comments that were made toward my mother.”
@aya11763 we good momma. Can’t allow the thoughts and words of others to derail us off our path. Love you! ❤️
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) March 19, 2017
The Puerto Ricans got the best of Stroman in their first meeting, a game the Americans lost, 6-5. On Wednesday night, Stroman was sensational, allowing just one-hit over six shutout innings.
“I was a little more effective with my location and my sinker,” said Stroman after the game on why he was more dominant in the final instead of his first game. “I was down in the zone more. Last time I was a little up. I was able to vary timings today. I was locked in, and luckily we came out with the W.”
Stroman was named the MVP of the tournament after the game for his superior performance in the championship. The hard-throwing right-handed ascended to elite status among America’s most decorated athletes, posting a 2.35 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP in 14.1 innings over the duration of the tournament.
With the social media vitriol towards his mother still fresh in his mind, Stroman did not shy away from trash-talking the Puerto Ricans throughout the game. Cameras caught the Blue Jays pitcher barking at the Puerto Rican dugout as he walked off the mound, even showing off a shoulder shimmy following a strikeout of Javier Baez to end the second inning.
That Stroman shimmy. pic.twitter.com/HhKka3Z28y
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) March 23, 2017
“That was for my mom, right there.” Stroman told reporters on the field underneath a snowfall of confetti. “It definitely added a little fuel to the fire.”
Published 2 hours ago