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José Abreu's tearful reaction to winning the American League MVP Award last year was unforgettable.
He wasn't the only one crying tears of joy that night.
Abreu's teammate, and one of the young White Sox players he's taken under his wing, Eloy Jiménez was overcome with emotion, too.
"When they announced that," Jiménez said on the White Sox Talk Podcast, "I was talking with my dad about it, like, 'I think he’s going to win it, I think he’s going to win the MVP.' And when I heard he won the MVP, I was just crying because I felt like it was me.
"He’s so special for me, that I felt like it was me winning the MVP."
Indeed, Abreu holds that kind of place in the hearts of his teammates. Both Jiménez and Luis Robert have described their relationships with Abreu as being of the father-son variety. So often lauded by the White Sox for his work on and off the field, Abreu's defining trait, aside from his consistency at the plate, has been the positive impact he's made on his teammates, the team frequently calling him the perfect role model and an example for all its young players.
For Abreu, it's the hard work that produces the results. And that is not lost on those he's closest to in the White Sox clubhouse.
"I know that he comes every single day — every single day. No matter how he feels, no matter what happens with him, he comes every single day to play baseball the right way," Jiménez said. "He deserved it. That’s why I was crying when I heard he won the MVP."
According to the fun-loving Jiménez, Abreu is a hard worker almost to a fault. While Abreu could be spotted standing on the top step of the dugout and having fun yelling at teammates during his MVP season, Jiménez said there are times when Abreu doesn't have patience for the kinds of jokes that have become the left fielder's trademark.
"Sometimes ... he just wants to work, work, work, work, work," Jiménez said. "So Robert and me always joke with him. He's funny, but sometimes he's a little serious with his work.
"He's a good joker, but sometimes he takes his work serious, like he doesn’t want any (screwing) around and all that. He just wants to work. And after that, joke.
"He can have fun with us, but sometimes he's just a grumpy dad."
Well, Grumpy Dad — did we stumble upon a new nickname here? — has himself an MVP award. So he can keep working all he wants.
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