‘Why not me?’: Bido makes long-awaited Pirates debut

June 15th, 2023

CHICAGO -- To Amaury Telemaco, Osvaldo Bido was something of a “late bloomer.” Most players out of Latin America sign with clubs during their adolescent years. By contrast, when Bido signed with the Pirates in 2017, he was 21 years old. 

“If you’re 18, you’re old in the Dominican Republic,” said Telemaco, a former Major Leaguer and a Latin American pitching coordinator for the Pirates. “Usually, they agree when they’re 14, 15. But [older guys like] Bido, those are the guys that are left behind.”

Bido knew he could pitch in the Major Leagues. He just needed a shot, an organization to take a chance on him and his talents. The Pirates provided him that opportunity. On Wednesday night, Bido showed just how far he could take it.

Roughly six years after joining the organization, Bido made his Major League debut in the Pirates’ 10-6 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, allowing one run across four innings with six strikeouts, the culmination of an unwavering belief in his ability and a commitment to take his dream as far as it could go. 

“Since I was a kid, I always knew, especially back home, that I wanted to be a big league player,” Bido said through team interpreter Stephen Morales. “I know that I had the talent to do it. I saw a lot of other players do it. I asked, ‘Why not me?’ Today came finally.”

“He took advantage of his last shot,” Telemaco said, “and here we are celebrating his Major League debut.”

Telemaco recalled Bido having a loose arm, shaky command and, oddly enough, an inability to properly pick off to first base when Bido initially signed with the organization. Younger players will typically spend several years at the Pirates' academy in the Dominican Republic before beginning Minor League ball. Bido, though, spent one year at the academy before being promoted to the West Virginia Black Bears, a former Class A Short-Season affiliate of the Bucs. Now, Bido becomes the fourth player from the Pirates’ academy in the Dominican Republic to make his Major League debut with Pittsburgh, joining Luis L. Ortiz, Rodolfo Castro and Yerry De Los Santos.

Bido’s family didn’t have the opportunity to travel from the Dominican Republic, but it congregated at the house of his mother, Carmen, to watch the game. When Bido learned that he was being promoted, his first call went to his mother, recalling how they both broke into tears while on the phone.

"We battled together through the Minor Leagues and all that. I’m really happy because he made it,” Castro said through Morales. “He put in hard work in the Minors and he's here, already doing his work and doing what he loves: playing baseball.”

Over the past six years, Bido took the mound on 121 occasions at Minor League parks across the country. On Wednesday, he finally had the opportunity to do so under the bright lights of a Major League stadium -- the second-oldest one at that.

While the Cubs scored just once across Bido’s four innings on the mound, they didn’t make life easy on the rookie by any means.

Bido struck out three batters in his initial Major League first inning, but Chicago’s bats also strung together three hits to produce a run, forcing the right-hander to throw 25 pitches in the process. Bido then needed 27 pitches to complete the second, 15 pitches in the third and 21 pitches in the fourth. In the second, Yan Gomes, the 35-year-old veteran who has seen plenty of rookies, worked a 13-pitch walk that ran up the Bido’s pitch count.

“The Cubs make you throw the ball on the plate. We saw that tonight,” said manager Derek Shelton. “They’re patient. They execute really good at-bats. They did that tonight. Gomes had the lengthy at-bat, which extended that inning and extended his pitch count. With this group of veteran players that they have, you have to be able to execute pitches on the plate.”

There will be room for Bido to grow, without question, but discussions of how he can grow can wait for another day. At one point, Bido may have been a late bloomer. On Wednesday night, he blossomed.

“I’ve been in those shoes before,” Telemaco said. “You bring a lot of joy to your neighborhood. It’s a lot of emotion. A lot of days that you go hungry to work out and coming home and there’s sometimes nothing in the kitchen. Now, you’re like, ‘Man, it was worth it to be a Major Leaguer.’ The biggest [thing] now is you’ll be able to provide for your family. … I’m just happy for Osvaldo.”