One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a fan of the Salt Lake Bees is watching players move on to success in the Major Leagues. Salt Lake baseball fans have been fortunate to watch many good players cut their teeth here before establishing themselves as solid Major Leaguers. David Ortiz, Torii Hunter, John Lackey, and Chone Figgins are a few of the players that fans in Utah have had the pleasure to watch. But of all the Salt Lake players that I have had the opportunity to watch and get to know Phillies reliever J.C. Romero is my all time favorite. It was because of Romero that I was rooting for the Phillies to win the World Series.
Romero made his first appearance for Salt Lake in 1999. At that time my 11 year old son and I attended almost every home game. We would sit on the front row by the bullpen which gave us an opportunity to talk to the pitchers. Game after game J.C. was outgoing and friendly toward my son and he quickly become my son's favorite player. It was very special to an 11 year old boy to feel like he was friends with a professional ball player. The following year Romero started the season with the Twins but was sent back to Salt Lake. My son was excited to have his favorite player coming back to town but I was worried he was setting himself up for disappointment. I explained to him the previous season was a long time ago and that Romero might not even remember him. As it turned out my worries were unfounded. Romero made a point to talk to my son and it was clear that J.C. remembered my son. From that moment I've always rooted for J.C. Romero.
Romero was outstanding for the Phillies in the 2009 post-season. He did not give up a run in 7.1 innings, striking out 4 without walking a hitter. He was the winning pitcher in 2 World Series games. The ultimate goal of every Major League player is to play on a World Series winner. J.C. Romero has now accomplished that goal and in the process proving that truly good guys can succeed in sports. Congratulations to J.C. and the rest of the Phillies.