Knuckle Ball: Latinos are Taking Over America's Pastime
Written by: Giancarlo Terrones 🇦🇷🇵🇪
The Washington Nationals played the Cleveland Guardians in Nationals Park on April 14, 2023. The Cleveland Guardians defeated the Washington Nationals 4-3. (Giancarlo Terrones)
Spring is here, summer is near, ballparks all over the country are open and baseball season is underway. With the current buzz going around with teams moving the last call for alcohol sales into the eighth inning.
Previously, alcohol sales would stop after the seventh inning but now they have been pushed into the eighth inning due to the introduction of the pitch clocks which speeds up the game, grabbing baseball fans all over the country's attention.
Aside from the news, something that should be talked about more is how America's pastime is being taken over by Latinos and Major League Baseball are fully aware and supportive of this. All across the nation, you have fans wearing jerseys of popular Latin players such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Sammy Sosa, Roberto Clemente, and David “Big Papi” Ortiz.
According to Captura Group, from 1991 to 2015, the percentage of Latino Players in Major League Baseball has risen dramatically. It has gone from 14% to 32%, as Latin players are scattered throughout all 30 Major league teams. Their influence is felt all over the ballparks, with Latin songs blasting all around the stadium as players are walking up, La Raza is bringing the energy to a once slow-paced game.
One of the countries that provide a huge amount of Latin players is none other than the Dominican Republic, where every ball club has its own training facilities on the island. However, as more teams start to take note of the importance of the Dominican Republic to the League, a decent amount of teams have invested in constructing their own designated academies in the country.
These academies help promising players that range from 17-19 years old with coaches and teachers help develop the players’ techniques. Providing educational programs that help with learning English. They also focus on improving their leadership skills as well as offering advice on managing strong emotions such as anger and stress. Most importantly, they learn to understand American culture as a majority of them will end up in the United States playing for a Major League team.
Overall, it’s clear that La Raza is not only leaving their mark but is also slowly taking over the sport loved by Americans. The next time you go to a baseball game, cheer loud when a Hispanic player steps up to bat, dance like nobody’s watching when salsa, bachata, corridos, or reggaeton is played, and if you’re at Nats Park, don’t forget to try the overpriced pupusas at the La Casita cart.