Courtesy of: The Morning News
Aruba, and in particular, the Paseo Herencia Shopping Center," were very proud two years ago, in the summer of 2011, to welcome back two native sons, Xander Bogaerts and Sean Zarraga. Both were on the roster of Minor League teams in the U.S., but had just brought great honor to Aruba and Holland by being part of the winning team to take the World Cup of Baseball back to Europe since 1938. It was a shock to the world when they beat Cuba, who had annually taken the title for the prior 26 years.
Bogaerts and Zarraga were both decorated by the crown with the title of Knights in the Order of Oranje-Nassau, by Aruba's Governor Fredis Refunjol during a trip home after the World Cup. Paseo Herencia Mall, known for their support and promotion of island youth and athletes, was very pleased to install them on their "Wall of Fame," dedicated to athletic endeavour by Arubans in the world arena, in the presence of their family and the community. Aruba's Minister of Sports, Richard Visser, was present to unveil Xander's memorial at the mall. Both players also generously donated their time to coaching some of Aruba's mini little league players in a program arranged by the shopping center.
All of Aruba was thrilled at the announcement that Xander Bogearts, at the age of only 20, is considered "a top prospect," and has been called up to the "Big Show." He has hit .297 with an .865 OPS in 116 games for Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket this season. He has 15 home runs and 67 RBIs. Bogaerts will replace Brock Holt on the 25-man roster and serve as a utility player who can spell shortstop Stephen Drew, who has been on the disabled list.
As a right hand hitter, it is hoped that he can prove to be quite a foil against left-handed pitchers. Sports reporters note that "the Red Sox have lost seven of their last 10 games, and team executives hope that Bogaerts will provide a spark." Aruba's native son, when he takes to the field, will be the youngest Red Sox position player since 20-year-old Dwight Evans in 1972.
"We are incredibly proud of Xander," expressed Paseo Herencia General Manager Valerie Pietersz-Camacho upon learning of his promotion to the Major Leagues. "It is good, after four years to see an Aruban player back in the Majors. He was so modest and approachable when we honored him two years ago, we had no doubt that he would go far in professional baseball, and we are especially pleased to see that he has now the opportunity to fulfill his destiny. We were always confident he would."