Nestor Cortes takes aim at Yankee Stadium in candid podcast interview

Nestor Cortes talks about the Yankee Stadium
Amanda Paula
Friday February 2, 2024

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Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes ignited the baseball world Thursday night with a bombshell interview on the Hispanic podcast “Carnota.” The rising star didn’t hold back, expressing his surprising dislike for Yankee Stadium, calling it “plain” and lacking the charm of other ballparks.

On that occasion, the New York Yankees player delved into his journey with the iconic team while also candidly expressing his sentiments regarding the revered Yankee Stadium.

“In truth, that stadium [Yankee Stadium], when you haven’t seen it on television, but someday I will, is one of my least favorite stadiums because it’s very plain. There’s nothing. I mean, you see the fans and they’re into the game, but the seats are, I don’t know, they’re so far, not too close. Everything is close, but not like, for example, look at the Marlins or the Braves or the Angels stadiums, which have many attributes that you don’t feel with the Yankees. The thing is that the Yankees fit 55,000 people, yes, it’s very big, so the pressure is always there. So you lose a game today and tomorrow you’re in the press, or you win a game today and you’re in the press. It’s a double-edged sword, yes, they are different sensations, but it’s very rich when obviously,” Cortes expressed.

The revelation from Cortes, who has been a pivotal figure in the Yankees’ pitching rotation, provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of baseball’s most storied franchises. His remarks shed light on the unique dynamics and challenges associated with playing at the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium, a venue steeped in history and tradition.

Being a Marlins fan while playing at the Yankees

One of the surprising revelations was that the presenters were Yankees fans. Still, Nestor Cortes said that while he will always be a Miami Marlins fan, the Yankees are the Yankees, representing the most iconic shirt in the baseball world.

“I always wanted to play with the Marlins, that was Marlin, my team being from Miami, growing up here, and it was very good when I was very young. It was always my team to play with, obviously the Yankees are the Yankees as everyone says. It’s like soccer, you see Real Madrid or Barcelona, you don’t see anyone else, that’s how baseball is,” Cortes commented.

Reflection on his time at Baltimore Orioles (2018)

Nestor Cortes Jr.’s journey into the MLB realm commenced with the Baltimore Orioles in 2018. Although the season didn’t yield any Quality Starts (QS), he demonstrated glimpses of his potential with three games finished (GF) and a Strike Percentage (S%) of .630. Despite the challenges, Cortes Jr. laid the groundwork for his future endeavors.

Last Thursday, Nsstor Cortes candidly shared insights into the highs and lows of his career. From moments of triumph to setbacks that tested his resolve, Cortés’s journey through Major League Baseball (MLB) ranks offers a compelling narrative of perseverance, resilience, and unwavering determination.

Nestor Cortes opens up about what he considers pivotal moments in his life, reframing challenges as opportunities for growth. One such moment occurred when the Baltimore Orioles released him in 2018. Cortés recalls the shock of being let go by what he describes as “the worst team in the majors” at the time. Despite the initial disappointment, he reflects on how this setback ultimately led to a transformative experience, stating:

“No, I will never reach this point again, and then in 2018, they released me. No, I had pitched for two weeks. I gave up three home runs with base hits, and they released me. I said, ‘No, the team, the worst team in the major leagues at that moment, and it reminded me of the Yankees again, that they were one of the best.”

Nestor Cortes acknowledges the emotional weight of that moment, recognizing it as both the saddest and happiest moment of his life, adding:

“I said, ‘If I can’t pitch here, where will I pitch?’ That was the saddest, happiest moment at the same time because they picked me up. Yes, exactly, people say that. That was your best, the best thing that happened to you in life, and the Orioles were bad that year, not the worst team.”

A good relationship with Duke Hernandez

In a recent conversation, professional baseball pitcher Néstor Cortés reflected on the enduring legacy of Duke Hernández, a legendary figure in Cuban and American baseball history. Cortés reminisced about the profound impact Duke had on his own career and the reverence with which he is remembered in both Cuba and the United States.

Duke Hernández, known affectionately as “El Duque,” captured the imagination of baseball fans worldwide with his remarkable talent and charisma. Growing up in Cuba, Cortés recalls how Duke Hernández was idolized as a symbol of excellence and inspiration, representing a beacon of hope for aspiring young players like himself.

“Duke Hernández in Cuba, as children, it was like Duke is a Yankees’ legend, brother, and you know, he was like an inspiration from outside of Cuba that marked an era,” one of the hosts of the interview said.

Duke Hernández’s impact extended beyond his on-field achievements; he became a cultural icon whose presence was felt far beyond the confines of the baseball diamond. Cortés recalls the famous “Curse of the Duque” during his tenure with the Yankees, underscoring the profound influence and significance Duke held within the organization.

“The curse of the Duque that without the Duque they didn’t win. Yes, he won four championships in the short time he was the Cuban who has won the most championships, or I’m not sure, but I dare to say yes, I dare to say yes,” Cortés remarked.

Cortés fondly recalls his personal interactions with Duke Hernández, describing him as a mentor and friend who provided invaluable guidance and support throughout his own baseball journey.

“In 2016, he helped me with my contract with the Yankees, putting his name, obviously, he talked to the Latinos, giving them a lot of advice to the Latinos. So, I was in that group that knew English and was more American than Cuban, but he related to me because he knew I was Cuban and born in Cuba, and he gave me a lot of advice,” Cortés recounted.

Despite Duke Hernández’s passing, his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those he inspired and mentored, including Néstor Cortés. Cortés expressed his gratitude for Duke’s unwavering support and encouragement throughout his career, acknowledging the profound impact Duke had on shaping his journey in professional baseball.

“From day one, he was one of the ones who supported me a lot. However, I saw him about three or four weeks ago in Tampa, and he told me, ‘I’m super happy with everything you’ve been able to do, everything you’ve been able to achieve because I saw you since you were a kid, and seeing you in this position now brings me a lot of joy.’ And no, thank you for giving me all those tips,” Cortés concluded.

Pinstripe Passion: New York Yankees (2019-2023)

His arrival at the New York Yankees in 2019 marked a turning point in Cortes Jr.’s career. While the QS remained elusive, he showcased improvement with seven games finished (GF) and a commendable S% of .630. The stage was set for Cortes Jr. to refine his craft and make significant contributions to the iconic franchise.

Across subsequent seasons, Cortes Jr. demonstrated resilience and adaptability, embracing the challenges inherent in professional baseball. With each pitch, he epitomized the spirit of perseverance, embodying the essence of the Yankees’ ethos.

Analyzing Nestor Cortes Jr.’s stats

Nestor Cortes Jr.’s statistical journey provides a captivating narrative of growth and evolution. Despite facing obstacles, he maintained an unwavering commitment to excellence, reflected in his Strike Percentage (S%) averaging .650 over his career.

His ability to command the mound was evident in his pitches per inning (P/IP) and pitches per plate appearance (P/PA), averaging 16.84 and 4.086, respectively. These figures underscore Cortes Jr.’s meticulous approach to pitching, emphasizing precision and control.

Beyond statistics, Nestor Cortes Jr.’s influence transcends the confines of the baseball diamond. His tenacity and resilience inspire teammates and fans alike, fostering a sense of unity and purpose within the Yankees’ organization.

Nestor Cortes Jr.’s journey epitomizes the essence of the MLB narrative—a tale of triumphs, setbacks, and unwavering determination. As he continues to leave his mark on the sport, his legacy serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of baseball.

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