An American game has Latin roots

Baseball is often referred to as America’s pastime.  It is labeled as a staple of American culture.  It is these ignorant statements that keep us from understanding that baseball is a sport of Latin American culture too, and that some of the stage’s brightest stars come from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and many more Latin American countries.

It seems that every year, the MLB is being graced with international players of great talent and personality.  Many of these players are of Latin American descent.  There are now more than 2,000 Hispanic players in Major League Baseball, which accounts for about 25% of the entire league.  Some of these players, like Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Ronaldo Acuña Jr. have shown us what it is to have a true passion and love for the game of baseball, playing the game at 100% every night with an unmatched style and charisma, and many of baseball’s biggest fans agree with that sentiment.

“Latin-American athletes have certainly impacted the sport of baseball,” says avid baseball fan Thomas Barry. “We see that through the changing culture of the game through heightened animation and passion that the sport has needed for years.”

Whether it be a 22 year old phenom like Tatis or a Hall of Fame great like Mariano Rivera, every Hispanic player knows what baseball means to them as well as their culture.  Since the sports’ introduction to Latin American countries in the mid to late 1800s, it has been one of the most influential sports in all of hispanic culture.  Whether they would come up poor like Mariano Rivera, and used sticks and milk cartons, or had the privilege to grace a field, they were in love with the sport of baseball.  

For some Hispanic players, it is not the MLB that is most important to them, but the World Baseball Classic that takes center stage as the most coveted baseball event.  It is the opportunity for Hispanic players to return home and represent their country’s in a tournament with the world’s best.  It also allows for some players to make a name for themselves and earn opportunities for a career in their passion. 

 Most importantly, the classic allows for Hispanic players to get exposure that they wouldn’t otherwise receive.  Baseball is just as much of a Latin American sport as it is an American or Japanese sport, and we cannot forget that.  Now is the time to appreciate and celebrate these great players and great people, because without them, baseball would not be baseball.