“I still have a lot of love for baseball, so we’ll see what happens,” Jiménez said.
That future, however, could involve using what he learned in college to start or run a business. Not sure which guy yet, but he said he wants to take care of the hard-earned money from playing days. “And who better than me because I know how hard that was to get?” he said.
One of the goals, he said, would be to serve as a good example of the value of education to Dominican players, of whom only a small percentage will reach the major leagues. When he signed a contract with the Rockies, Jiménez said, the teams cared little about education. Now, according to MLB, all but one of its 30 clubs have high school diploma programs at their Dominican academies, and classes continued during the pandemic.
“You live and breathe baseball in the Dominican Republic,” he said. “But it’s not all baseball. There is life before and after. ”
Jiménez said that although parents ultimately bear the responsibility for educating their children, he understands that many children who play baseball face pressure to insure their families. Therefore, he said, the Dominican government should place more emphasis on baseball players finishing school, perhaps even before they leave the island.
O’Dowd, now an analyst for the MLB Network, took that step further, saying it should be a condition that every international player who has signed an MLB team gets a GED before coming to the United States. Not only would it help them become better players, but to make baseball fail, O’Dowd said, “It would be amazing on us to be able to bring players back to certain areas they come from, like in DR, at least with a high school education, I hope and more. “
Jiménez received his latest diploma in the mail. From his home in Miami, he watched a virtual graduation ceremony. To celebrate, he posed for a photo in a hat and dress and participated in a toast with champagne. When Jiménez’s older sister graduated from medical school, his mother took part in a toast to her, even though she doesn’t drink alcohol. She was so happy on Saturday that she made an exception again.