Whoever said there are no second acts in Aruban life wasn’t keeping up with the Sidney Ponson story, as told by the Washington Post’s Jorge Arangure Jr.
By the time he reached the mound Ponson had so much pent-up energy that his stance began to fly open when he pitched, causing his throws to sail away from their intended targets.
“Sometimes you get the adrenaline flowing so bad,” Ponson said. “It’s just one of those things.”
Ponson eventually settled his nerves and made an impressive debut, pitching four scoreless innings in the Baltimore Orioles’ 0-0 tie against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The teams called the game after the 10th inning.
Ponson’s start only gained significance because of a tumultuous offseason that saw him land in an Aruban jail for 11 days after being involved in an altercation on Christmas day. During spring training, Ponson flew to Aruba for his court hearing and agreed to a tentative settlement that would drop the assault charges. His first start of spring training was scheduled for Monday, but Ponson was a late scratch because the team learned he could have violated immigration laws with an appearance. Instead, Ponson pitched in a simulated game.
Baltimore owner Peter Angelos intervened and helped set up an appointment for Ponson at the U.S. Consulate in the Dominican Republic. On Wednesday, Ponson flew there and was granted his work visa the next day. Ponson settled financially with his accusers on Friday, finally ending the saga that had followed him all spring.
“I don’t want to hear nothing about what happened in the past,” Ponson said. “I want to talk about throwing strikes, getting outs and me losing some games and winning a lot of games. That’s all I want to talk about.”