Sometimes, the people whom we’ve only known for a short amount of time have the biggest impact.
I’d personally put Raimel Tapia in this category. Although most fans probably wouldn’t agree (he did, after all, only amass 97 plate appearances) as a Colorado-native and Rockies fan, Tapia was special to me.
Tapia, a staple in my life since 2017, was a fan favorite in Denver and just an overall Cool Guy. Although I did my best to share his Cool Guy nature with the rest of the fanbase, I don’t quite think my efforts were successful.
— Avery Hamel (@avcoleham) May 11, 2023
First, I can offer a little background on Tapia and what exactly made him so intriguing to me in his Rockies and Red Sox days. You may be wondering how me tweeting five crab emojis is in any way connected to Tapia. Well, he got this name early on in his Rockies career because when he made the majors, he bought a farm for his father, on which they have a lake stocked with fish and blue crab. He went crabbing often with his dad growing up to collect food, and this part of his life is so important to him that he has a crab logo stuck to the end of his bat. Also, his crouch used mostly in a two-strike count, has been nicknamed “The Crab.” Move over, Juan Soto, Raimel Tapia did it first.
The fact that Tapia is a major leaguer with a six-figure contract but still operates a family farm in the offseason is just incredible, and is another part of his identity that makes him such a great role model and part of the league.
He wasn’t here for long, but I do remember getting the notification for Tapia’s first, and only, Red Sox home run after turning off the game mid-blowout against Detroit. He was also a part of the wacky inning in which Angels’ catcher Matt Thais had two catcher’s interference penalties. Tapia was the recipient of the first interference call, on which he hit a rocket of a flyout to left field but was nonetheless awarded first base. He later said that the Angels were lucky Thais got in the way of his swing or else the ball would’ve made a hole in the green monster. And finally, in the middle of my hellish week of finals, Tapia ripped a pinch-hit go-ahead double to right to put the Sox ahead in the game in which Kenley Jansen would record his 400th save.
So although most will forget about Tapia in the coming years, or even before the end of this year in some cases, he definitely was a catalyst for some memorable moments, and I will not soon forget him as a fun guy who got to play on my two favorite teams.
Long live the crab master, nobody in Major League Baseball loves crabs more than that guy.