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Aroldis Chapman smokes Marlboro Reds, wakes up at sunset, drives really fast

Feb 10, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Aroldis Chapman Getty Getty Images

Eli Saslow of ESPN profiles Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. And oh my God, are we glad he did. Because we get a glimpse of a pretty odd life. One of boredom and restlessness when he’s not playing baseball.

The scene: Champan’s extended family sits around his Florida mansion waiting for him to wake up, and they’re under strict instructions not to disturb him before he does. Finally, he does:

Finally, a few minutes before 4 p.m., the curtains lift and Chapman descends the spiral staircase to the pool deck. He wears sandals, sunglasses and a tank top obscured by heavy gold chains. He lights a Marlboro Red cigarette and flops down onto an all-weather mattress near the pool.

“Why so late like this?” Maria Caridad asks. “Why all this sleeping?”

“There’s nothing else to do,” he says.

It’s a profile that is both illuminating and rather sad. It speaks of a singular isolation of a guy who came to a country where he knew no one and now has everything he could have wanted, materially speaking. But who now seems kind of lost.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Feb 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Wait, what? Aren’t we talking about Jim Leyland’s retirement here?

    • cur'68 - Feb 10, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      If it were Lyeland’s retirement, Len, there would be an absence of trousers, yelling at umpires and umpire-like officials, and a really good anecdote about some baseball guy or the other. Since its ‘Roldy Chapman, what we have are 1st world problems for a guy who’s used to 3rd world problems.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:36 PM

      Booooo!!!!!!

      /throws cigarette butt

      • unclemosesgreen - Feb 10, 2014 at 10:20 PM

        What are you rebelling against, Johnny?

        … What’cha got?

    • dickclydesdale - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      This is a dumb article that tries to portray someone as a bum off the field. I’m sure all MLB players have a few weeks of lounging around the house.

  2. rbj1 - Feb 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Beats staring out a window waiting for spring.

    • happytwinsfan - Feb 10, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      or going outside to shovel

  3. contraryguy - Feb 10, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    maybe it’s time for the Reds to adopt Chappy’s offseason program: punching bag, cigars by the pool, sleep in late. He’s healthier than most of the rest of the Reds staff.

    • spudchukar - Feb 10, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Soon he will resemble Todd Coffey.

  4. El Bravo - Feb 10, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Marlboro Reds while playing for the Reds. Well that’s something.

  5. Carl Hancock - Feb 10, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    When I read that a few days ago I came away thinking he was a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later he’s going to do something destructive to his baseball career simply because he feels out of place and misses a bit of the chaos and craziness of his youth in Cuba. I’d be surprised he invited a writer into his house to witness this but given the content of the article it isn’t surprising. He seems pretty disinterested in baseball, which would worry me as a Reds fan. If I were one. But I’m not. I’m a Cardinals fan. Smoke another cigarette Aroldis! I hear they add 5 mph to your fastball and do wonders for your cardio conditioning…

  6. jayquintana - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    It’s good he’s a pitcher. I wouldn’t want a position player to be a smoker.

  7. thomas844 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    I wonder how many of those cream cheese Cuban pastries he has wolfed down during the offseason.

  8. psunick - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    And people wonder why some of these guys go off the deep end when their careers are over.
    Excellent, but frightening, post Craig

  9. hockeyflow33 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    After reading the article it really seems as if the onus is on him. He’s done nothing to assimilate to the US or the city he plays in.

    • savvybynature - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:00 AM

      Assimilation is cool but it isn’t for everyone, nor does it need to be.
      Even successful people are allowed a sense of ennui.

      • hockeyflow33 - Feb 11, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        If you’re not interested in joining in the US culture, why move here? Note that this doesn’t mean forget your heritage or forget where you came from.

      • savvybynature - Feb 11, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        Why move here even if you don’t love the culture? I don’t know, maybe to make millions of dollars and better provide for your family?
        I love America, but my wife and I have considered moving to Italy or Switzerland after she graduates if there is a better opportunity for her. Not thrilled about living somewhere that I don’t speak the language, but wouldn’t complain about it either if its best for my family.
        I would think people move to foreign countries all the time for occupational opportunities or because of expanded rights, in Chapman’s case he got both, not simply because they love the culture and can’t wait to assimilate.

  10. djsammmyskillz - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Coming from a reds fan myself, sounds like we are pretty similar. We both wake up late, drive faster than we can throw a baseball, and both give up home runs as much as possible!

  11. therealcoltmccoy - Feb 10, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    Hell yeah. I’m jealous. Dude is straight livin the life.

  12. paco53 - Feb 10, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    I am a Reds fan. The Reds need to talk to this guy and figure out what might make him happy. Because a miserable employee will quit producing.

  13. stlouis1baseball - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    The Redlegs need to get this dude a married mistress. STAT.
    It is obvious this is the only thing that he finds enjoyment in.
    Well…married women, pastries and Marlboro’s.

  14. cincinata - Mar 15, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    This is one player the Reds have not handled well. Forget Homer. Chapman is a needed starter, but why do they keep him in the BP? the way the Reds are playing this Spring, they won’t be able to use him in a saving role. They must develop this guy as a starter, or they are wasting his talent.

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