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March 26, 2009 at 12:37 AM

From Freddy to Fredy

I guess I can now say my career has come full circle. Almost 10 years ago in the first months of my job with the Seattle Times, I wrote a feature on another South American athlete starting out in Seattle, Venezuelan pitcher Freddy Garcia.

Yesterday, I wrote about Colombian Fredy Montero, another young athlete rising to stardom in Seattle. Below is an excerpt from the Garcia story:

Rookie’s Brave New World

By Jose Miguel Romero

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Freddy Garcia of the Mariners is just 22, but he’s already come a long way from his home in Caracas, Venezuela. Because of his surprising success in his first season pitching in Seattle, his star is rising fast.

Freddy Garcia doesn’t do crosswalks. He’ll swagger across a busy street even as traffic whizzes by. Then he’ll turn around and snort, as if to say, “There’s no stopping me.”

Inside the Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar, his cellular phone practically rings off the hook.

“What up, dog?” he says into the phone with his best impression of urban slang.

Nearby, adolescent girls peer through a window, their hands over their open mouths and eyes wide with surprise as they try to remember where they’ve seen “that guy.”

His cell phone is still ringing as Garcia munches on swordfish and steamed potatoes. This time, the call is from a woman, and he switches from his rapid-fire Spanish to his choppy English, speaking softly with a slight smirk on his face.

Welcome to el mundo del novato, the rookie’s world.

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