As the Triple-A Iowa affiliate prepare to open up the 2015 campaign, they’ll have to do so without Chicago Cubs’ second baseman Javier Baez, who was recently demoted in order to fix his approach in the batters box.
Now according to ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers, Baez has taken a leave of absence from the team due to the death of his 21-year-old sister, Noely Baez. No matter how tough things may appear, family is always important. After reading past interviews regarding Javier’s personal life, his little sister was his hero.
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Back in 2004, Javier and his family moved from Puerto Rico to North Carolina in search of better health care for his sister who was diagnosed with spinal bifida when she was born.
Javier’s Father, Angel Luis Baez, passed away when he was only 10-years-old, leaving his two older brothers – Nelida and Rolando Agosto – to step up alongside their Mother to take care of the finances.
To avoid moving back to Puerto Rico with the rest of his family, Javy’s Mother made the decision to move to Jacksonville, Florida so that he could play baseball year round.
"“[Christmas] is very, very special. When my sister was born, doctors said she wouldn’t last 20 minutes, that she wouldn’t last from one room to another one. Last November, she turned 20. Everyday is special” – Javier Baez via Cubs.com"
There are bonds that exist within a clubhouse, but the ones we share with our own flesh and blood – like with our siblings – is something that helps keep one another motivated. The late great Walter Payton once said, ‘we’re stronger together than we are alone’ and that ‘tomorrow is promised to no one’.
Noely’s ‘tomorrow is promised to no one’, lasted until she was 21-years-old. As Javier once described her in an interview, she was very independent and determined to do things on her own including moving around in her wheelchair on her own.
"“She’s very, very independent. That’s why I don’t like people to feel sorry for us. She’s very independent. When we’re in the house, we cannot touch her wheelchair. If we touch it, she’ll lock the wheels and say, ‘No, don’t push me’ She wants to do it herself.” – Baez via Cubs.com."
As Javier and his family aged, Baez eventually became a member of the Spinal Bifida of Jacksonville Organization. Back in 2012, Javy not only hosted a pizza party for children who suffered from the disease, but he also invited them to a game on Aug, 6. – a day in which pitcher Eric Jokisch threw a no-hitter in the 10-0 win against the Jacksonville Suns.
Shortly after, Noely was hospitalized when her lungs stopped functioning, leading to her being on a ventilator for three weeks. Despite the battle that she has been going through her entire life, Javier’s little sister pulled through and was able to go back home and carry on with her everyday life.
Cubs.com also notes that Javier not only has the tattoo of the MLB’s official logo on the back of his neck, but one for each of his older brothers and his little sister. On behalf of the Cubbies Crib staff, we would like to extend our condolences to Javier Baez and his family.