A new hope.
That's how the United States was introduced to Yoenis Cespedes after he defected from Cuba on a speedboat.
Those three words opened a 20-minute promotional video that was circulated by Cespedes' representatives while in search of a contract from a major-league team. On an all-black screen is an opening crawl, with text moving up and away from the bottom, imitating "Star Wars."
But in each of those movies, the famous opening line was, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . "
In a way, that line also would have been fitting for Cespedes. When defecting from Cuba, safe ground can seem like a galaxy away.
The scouting video, with its odd production and limited amount of in-game baseball highlights, is unlike any seen before. Some clips include Cespedes making no-look, behind-the-back catches on fly balls, running a 6.3-second 60-yard dash and lifting a 1,300-pound leg press with two people sitting on top of the weights. It ends, for some unexplained reason, with Cespedes next to a pig roast.
Strange? Yes. You can watch it on YouTube (it's called "The Showcase").
There are moments within the video that show his strength, swing and skill. Moments that show why the Mets traded for him on Friday.
"I'm very flattered that the Mets wanted to give me this opportunity," Cespedes, who went 0-for-3 in his debut, said Saturday through a translator. "I'm glad to be coming back to this ballpark. I hear a lot about New York and the crowds. I'm just hoping to do my job and I think it will all work out well."
The opening crawl of the video continues . . .
It is a period of big change in Major League Baseball. Baseball players are leaving their countries from all parts of the world in hope of the dream to play in the majors.
During these times many players have tried and few have made it. But now, one player has left his homeland to show the world how they play baseball in Cuba.
Cespedes' journey to New York was a long and arduous one, with frequent stops. It began in Cuba. From there he fled to the Dominican Republic. From there he signed with Oakland. From there he was traded to Boston, then to Detroit, then to the Mets.
"This is the kind of player," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said, "that could have a big impact both in terms of the game on the field and how the team is perceived."
Cespedes was born in Campaechuela, Cuba. His mother, Estela Milanes, pitched for Cuba's softball team in the 2000 Olympics. His father, Cresencio Cespedes, was a catcher in the Cuban League.
Cespedes first began to make a name for himself in the States after hitting .458 in six games for Cuba during the World Baseball Classic in 2009. His 33 home runs in 2011 set the Cuban league single-season record -- which he shared that season with Jose Abreu, now of the Chicago White Sox.
That summer, feeling slighted by not being selected for the first-string Cuban national team, Cespedes defected.
The opening crawl on the video continues . . .
The owner of the home run record in Cuba, he sets out for a new challenge and to show that he can perform at the highest level, the major leagues.
Cespedes established residency in the Dominican Republic in order to become a free agent. He signed a four-year, $36-million deal with the A's in February 2012. He hit .292 with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs, finishing second in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting.
During the 2013 season, he hit a career-best 26 home runs. In 2014, he was named an All-Star before being traded to the Red Sox at the deadline. In the offseason, he was dealt to the Tigers, where he was hitting .293 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs. On Friday, he came to his fourth team.
"There'll be some balls that he'll hit and he'll shake his head because they were homers in Detroit and they're not homers here," Terry Collins said. "But if you were at the home run-hitting contest, he can hit them over the fence here. So I'm not worried about that."
In the summer of 2013, Cespedes participated in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities at Citi Field. He totaled 32 homers, including 17 in the first round, to win the contest. His last homer traveled 455 feet, hitting off the black wall behind the home run apple.
The opening crawl on the video concludes . . .
Nicknamed "El Talento or La Potencia" for his five tools and style of play. Teams from all over the world have waited for Yoenis Cespedes. Now he has chosen the Dominican Republic to showcase his abilities to the world. While the hopes and dreams of the Cuban nation look to Yoenis to fulfill his destiny.
The new destiny for "El Talento or La Potencia" -- Talent or Power -- is to help get the Mets into the postseason for the first time since 2006.
"That doesn't put any pressure in my mind," Cespedes said. "I think that I'm just going to go out there and do what I always do and work hard and hopefully I'll help the team."
He already has provided a new hope.
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