Simmons won a platinum glove last year, as the best overall defensive player in the league. Now he’s honored to be recognized with his first bobblehead night.
“Special,” Simmons said. “It means I made it. This is pretty unique, man, that I’ve got my own bobblehead at the stadium where I always watched growing up. It’s pretty cool.”
Simmons grew up on the Caribbean island of Curacao, a fan of his fellow countryman Andruw Jones and the Braves. Now he’ll be boxing up his bobbleheads to send home to his family in Curacao. He has about seven or eight bobbleheads at his parent’s house of Braves like Dale Murphy, Chipper Jones, Hank Aaron and B.J. Upton.
“My mom, she will kill me if I don’t get her one,” Simmons said.
Simmons said his parents’ house has become the place to watch Braves games in his old neighborhood. They set up a projection screen TV in the backyard and invite neighbors and family over to watch Braves games.
“Every time I call there’s somebody there after the game,” Simmons said.
Simmons was asked if he thought he might hit a home run like both Jones and Freddie Freeman did on their bobblehead nights each of the past two years.
“I hope,” Simmons said. “Hopefully just get a win. It doesn’t matter what I do; I just want to win. It’ll make the night better.”
That’s the kind of attitude that has endeared Simmons to his teammates, fans and especially his manager Fredi Gonzalez. Because of the defensive efforts of players like Simmons and Jason Heyward, Gonzalez had a sign posted in the tunnel on the way to the Braves dugout listing the club’s Gold Glove winners to recognize the winners and inspire the other players.
“(Simmons) loves defense,” Gonzalez said. “You always see the players snap offensively. They leave the bases loaded, and they snap, they go in there and they throw helmets and break stuff. I’ve seen him get so upset because he felt like he didn’t make a play defensively, almost to the same extent, that you’re going to have to go in there and calm him down because he’s going to hurt himself. That’s how much pride he takes.”