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Romo's engine revved to pitch for Mexico in Classic

Romo's engine revved to pitch for Mexico in Classic

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Sergio Romo is certainly an excitable guy, whether he's cracking jokes in the clubhouse or celebrating a San Francisco victory on the mound.

One thing well known about the Giants' reliever is his love for his Mexican heritage. Both Romo's father and mother were born in Mexico, the country for which he'll pitch in this year's World Baseball Classic.

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"It's just a just a way to show legitimately how proud I am to have my Mexican heritage, and also to let [others] know that anything is possible," Romo said. "You can do big things in your life no matter size, stature, color of skin, anything."

Something not-so-well known about the 5-foot-10 reliever is he's also a big racing fan. So in that regard, Friday was another incredible opportunity for the two-time World Series champion reliever, as Romo served as grand marshall and was scheduled to ride in the pace car for the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series race at Phoenix International Speedway.

"Caballeros, enciendan sus motores," said a laughing Romo, which means, "Gentleman, start your engines."

"That's pretty dope for me," Romo added. "I feel like a little kid about it."

World Series Baseball Classic Inc., sponsored a car in the race, which was driven by Abraham Calderon, and extended an invitation to Romo to be part of the event.

"Privileged and thankful for the invitation, just because this is something I've never done," Romo said. "To be able to represent my background, to be able to be that guy and be a kid in an atmosphere like that [will be great]."

Romo said he follows racing a little bit, going to a handful of races while in San Francisco's Minor League system -- though never getting as close to the action as Friday. He's also never been in a race car or dragster, with the most racing and driving he's done coming on sand dunes growing up.

When told that maybe he could have squeezed a bit more out of his celebrity to perhaps get into a car Friday, Romo maturely responded -- despite the kid in him.

"No, no, no," Romo said. "You don't want to get me over 200 mph in those cars. No, you don't want to give me no 1300-horsepower car."

Come to think of it, that's probably a good thing for the Giants and Team Mexico, which opens against Team Italy at Noon PT on March 7 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

"It's just a way to let [my family] know I'm very thankful for the lifestyle they've given me, for the morals and traditions that I live by today," Romo said. "I'm just excited to put that jersey on, I really am."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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