OGDEN -- The postponement of Monday's Ogden Raptors game because of electrical issues flustered many, from fans to ballpark staff.
Some vented their frustrations; others just walked out of Lindquist Field with a look of disappointment.
Then there was one, who had a smile which never left, regardless of the prospects of playing a doubleheader the next day, or having to show up at the ballpark even earlier than usual -- Raptors infielder Jesmuel Valentin, a self-proclaimed baseball nut from Puerto Rico.
"Puerto Rico is a lot of fun, because it's an island and everyone just goes crazy about sports," said Valentin, who was drafted in the first round in 2012 by the Dodgers. "Baseball is the number one sport, and everyone looks up to baseball players who got drafted high, because they look forward to us being the next potential big league player."
Valentin, who is the 16th best prospect in the Dodgers organization, according to MLB.com, grew up with professional influences all around him, primarily from his father, Jose, who played for four clubs, including the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jesmuel has several fond memories of his father in Dodger blue, but his favorite memory came on the South Side of Chicago, when Jose Valentin was playing for the Chicago White Sox.
"That game, I wasn't able to be in the dugout because I was underage, so I was in the tunnel," Valentin said. "I remember he hit three home runs that day, and every single time he just ran down to the tunnel, grabbed me up, and just gave me a kiss."
"I'll never forget that moment."
Jose's impact on Jesmuel's life is noticeable to many, and it may be a reason why he already acts like a big leaguer, even though he is only 19 years old.
"He already knows the game, and goes about his business as a professional should," said Brandon Zaligson, the Raptors' strength and conditioning coach. "He always makes time for the gym, works hard when he's in there; he already knows how to be a professional, and he's only a year and a half in."
For Jesmuel, the pressure of being a big leaguer's son has waned over the years, but was fierce early on.
"At the beginning, it was tough because I wasn't mature enough," Valentin said. "I was trying to do too much because I have the last name. As you mature though, you just have to go outside, do what you have to do, and be yourself, because that is the most important thing."
Despite Jesmuel's efforts to distance himself from his father's legacy, the similarities between the two are striking. Leo Garcia, the Raptors hitting coach, played with the elder Valentin, and noted the son has many of the same physical features and attributes.
"At the same age, they look about the same, so I don't see any difference," Garcia said. "He just plays hard because that's the kind of guy he is."
Jose Valentin had a career which spanned 16 seasons in the majors, and the expectations are there for his son to have success in the pro game as well.
"To me, he's a guy that can play shortstop or second base in the major leagues," said Garcia. "Like I say, he's young, and the more he improves, he may be an everyday second baseman. He has plenty of time though, because he's young."
Jesmuel is just focused on enjoying today though, which is maybe why his smile is so wide. Regardless, the second year pro is just focused on enjoying the blessings of the Pioneer League, and of Ogden.
"Right now, I enjoy the fans," Valentin said. "Every single place we go, there are different types of fans, and different cultures. One of the things I love is visiting new places, and traveling on the bus."
"In this league, you can see the mountains, and it's just a really good experience to see things you might not have a chance to see again."
NOTE: The Raptors will play Idaho Falls in a doubleheader today, with first pitch of the first game scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Lindquist Field.