After that special 2016 season, I decided to get a few tattoos to honor God. I got one of my wedding date, and one of Jeremiah 1:12, which says “The Lord said to me, 'You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.' ”
I also got a tattoo on my arm that says “Believe” and one on my neck that says “Faith.” I'm glad I got both of those tattoos, because over the last two years God put both of those words to the test.
As well as things were going for me in Boston, things were unraveling in my home country. Oil is a major export for Venezuela, and once that industry collapsed, our economy was turned upside down.
Every time I would watch the news, I would see people getting killed, and others not having anything to eat. Even if people have money, they can't find anything to eat in the supermarkets. My family can go out to any supermarket, but there's nothing inside the store. Sometimes they would go to three different places and still not find anything.
People had no choice but to buy stuff in the streets, and the prices were three times higher than they were in the supermarket. For people who made minimum wage, it was more expensive to buy things than the money they could earn.
It was so hard watching my country fall apart like that. And as I watched my country suffer, my own performance on the field was starting to decline as well.
I ended up hitting .225 in 2017, and split time with my teammate Christian Vazquez. We started splitting time at the beginning of this season as well, but by this point in my career, God has made me a less selfish teammate.
When you start to think about the complexity of God's plan, it's amazing. I still remember playing in the minor leagues with Jhonatan in 2014, and as the two of us were trying to stay on the 40-man roster with the Nationals big league club, we began to bond. Jhonatan and I would go out to left field and work out, just the two of us. We were the only two catchers on the team, and some people were encouraging us to fight for the top spot, but we refused to become enemies.
Perhaps that was because our future wives were sisters. And after watching each other succeed, Jhonatan became like a brother to me.
By the time I started to split catching duties with Christian, I learned to be happy for his success. When he is having a bad game, I feel bad, and when he is making big plays, I feel great.
That's the way God wants us to approach the situation, and right now our team is on fire. We are in a position to compete for the World Series, and just like the tattoos say, I continue to believe and have faith.
After all, look at where it's gotten me so far.