Manny Corpas' father from Panama, proud to see son in Series

DENVER — Manuel Corpas Sr. is not typically a chatterbox. This occasion was so special, though, he could barely stop talking. The father of the Colorado Rockies closer of the same name was standing on the Coors Field dirt Saturday evening, about 24 hours after arriving in Denver from his native Panama on a trip his son didn't think he'd be able to make.

 Corpas, who had never traveled to the USA, encountered visa problems as he tried to arrange the trip to see his son in the World Series. The obstacle appeared insurmountable after several failed attempts, until the younger Corpas' agent, Benny Quintero, appealed to Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar.


Through the intervention of Salazar's office, Corpas Sr. secured a tourist visa and was able to see his son pitch live for the first time in five years when he went 1 1/3 innings in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox. His wife, Florencia, did not join him because she's afraid to fly.


Beaming with pride, Corpas reflected on the fulfillment of a father's dreams, especially one who played the game. Corpas was an outfielder and later a pitcher in fast-pitch softball.

"When my son was 9, I had hopes he would someday play in the major leagues and in the World Series, and now it's happening," he said in Spanish.


In his first full season in the majors, the younger Corpas went from effective setup man to lights-out closer. He took over for Brian Fuentes in early July and recorded 19 saves, earning an award as the majors' top closer in September.


During the postseason he had five saves, more than any other reliever, and entered Sunday with a 1.00 ERA. However, he didn't have any save chances in the World Series as the Red Sox completed a sweep of the Rockies in Sunday night's Game 4.

"I never thought he'd be able to come," Corpas said of his father, whom he calls daily. "It was very emotional to see him arrive. I'm thrilled."


Corpas, 24, grew up idolizing fellow Panamanian Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees and requested Rivera's No. 42 when playing in an international junior tournament.


He said several members of his family played baseball. On the rare occasion when he would try to dabble in another sport,

such as soccer, his dad would redirect his focus in no uncertain terms."Futbol, no. Beisbol," he would tell him.


Corpas Sr. could spot his talent at an early age, watching his son in a game where he threw bottle caps and fooled most kids trying to hit against him. Not all, though.


"When he was a kid he would get so upset if anybody got a hit off him, he would cry," Corpas Sr. said. "He wanted to strike out everybody."


Now he's more of a groundball pitcher, a highly desirable trait for someone who pitches in Coors Field, a high-altitude ballpark with huge outfield expanses. His demeanor has also changed from his younger days.


Corpas is known for his unflappable nature regardless of the circumstances, a quality known in Panama as having "chicken blood," according to his dad.


"I think it helps me as a pitcher, especially in my role," the closer said. "It allows me to be relaxed and not get caught up in what's happening around me."


Unless it's his dad's first-ever visit stateside.