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Latino Baseball Players Talk About The Culture Clash They Experience Playing For MLB

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Baseball may be America’s pastime, but the sport now has deep roots in several Latin American countries. Latinos have always been part of baseball, but there’s been a noticeable surge of Latino players in recent years. This season alone broke records: according to the Major League Baseball, 29.8% of players were born outside the 50 states, and the majority of them are Latinos. The Dominican Republic has more players in MLB more than any other country, leading with 93 players. Venezuela is second with 77 players and Cuba is third with 23 players. Aside from the baseball culture change, there’s also room for growth when it comes to understanding Latinos. In fact, sports media and others within the industry have started to learn Spanish in order to fully grasp the identity of the players and be sensitive towards their needs.

ESPN did something pretty awesome to cover this cultural shift. The network profiled 50 Latino MLB players and asked them their thoughts on a variety of topics about their lives on and off the field. It’s astonishing that they can be so focused on their job while balancing their new lives in the United States.

Here are some highlights from the ESPN feature story, but make sure to check out the full piece on ESPN.com.

Carlos González of the Colorado Rockies talked about the flair Latinos bring to baseball:

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A post shared by Carlos Gonzalez (@cargo5) on

“Maybe for guys from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, there’s a larger difference because they put more flair into the way they play, and they come to the United States and people don’t really like that. You see a lot of issues with guys like [Yoenis] Céspedes or [Yasiel] Puig, when they’re celebrating. However, that’s the only way they know, and I get it. Everyone comes from different situations, so you have to be open-minded. You’ve got to understand why they do that kind of stuff. You can’t just judge people because of the way they play.”

Brayan Peña of the Kansas City Royals talked about balancing his family life:

“I defected when I was 16. Here, if you play hard and you do the right thing, you have an opportunity to show your talent. In Cuba, if you play hard and you do the right thing, you’re not going anywhere. If the Cuban government doesn’t like the way you act or the way you think, it doesn’t matter how much talent you have. That’s why a lot of us made those tough decisions to defect and leave our friends and families behind. We want to follow a dream. America gives us that dream.”

Carlos Gómez of the Texas Rangers revealed how much he misses his family:

Mis cachorro son loco con su Papiii los amos ❤️ mi fuerza ??YYY??CGGCYYY❤️??????????????

A post shared by Carlos Gomez (@realcarlosgomez) on

“It’s tough to have the life of a baseball player. I feel lonely without [my family]. Previously, my oldest son started the school year in the States and ended it in the Dominican. I didn’t want to do it that way this year since he would have to separate himself from his teachers and friends. I don’t think it’s healthy for him. So I better sacrifice myself so they can be normal kids.”

Óliver Pérez of the Washington Nationals talked about the language barrier:

#OliverPerez es entrevistado en el día previo al inicio de la #SerieDelCaribe foto:Luis Gutierrez /NortePhoto.com

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“When I came here at 17, I didn’t even know how to say ‘No. 1.’ It was hard to go get something to eat, to understand play instructions. I listened to English all day long without actually understanding it. But there’s no language on the field. It’s just baseball, and that’s something you understand.”

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers talked about identity and politics:

Dios nos bendiga y nos proteja ??FE

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“[Immigration] is an important topic that’s talked about in the clubhouses, in homes, in the streets. I hope that, like all politicians who never go through with what they say on their campaign, [President Donald Trump] doesn’t go through with it [his threats to deport undocumented immigrants]. I feel the fears of a lot of people. That does affect me, not what one person says, but what so many suffer, especially if they are Latinos.”

Carlos Santana of the Cleveland Indians talked about what he did with one of his first bonus checks:

Siempre está en mi corazón mami I love you mami ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by carlos santana (@slamtana_41) on

“If you look at all players, especially Dominicans, when they get to the MLB and they get a good bonus, the first thing they do is secure a house for their moms. We Dominicans believe in this. Mom ate bones; now she has to eat dough.”

Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners explained how Latino players dealt with being away from home cooking:

RepostBy @davilajr31: "Vamos todos a votar por @encadwin para el all star game 2017 en Miami #vota #10 #edwinencarnacion @adonnys13 @hector_borg @kjjean @amauryjrelksabe @poopo05 @richardenca @miriamrivera07 @estef_dolcevita @jcapois @evelinencar @robert8679 @felipedelrosario1 @felipelopez_official @vennyjas @jerryc172 @garcir @manny_soto27 @manny0213_ @poloybaseball @elischocolate @deaza0505 @robertsfadebarbershop @guichi82 @juanycarabonita_04 @llserg1978 @papitin13 @jenfavila @carol23b @oriana0724 @naw_29 @glenfas @elcoco39 @softballchata @framycr @franco0509 #https://www.mlb.com/all-star/ballot?tcid=ASG17_mlb_newstory https://www.mlb.com/all-star/ballot?tcid=ASG17_mlb_newstory https://www.mlbstatic.com/mlb. At MLB.com" (via #InstaRepost @EasyRepost) https://www.mlb.com/all-star/ballot #softballchata

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“On road trips, teams gave us meal money, which was like $20. To help each other, let’s say we were six or eight Latinos, we collected our money and we bought groceries collectively. We got chicken and rice. We had an electric skillet for rice, and we had a pan for the meat. It was forbidden to cook inside the hotel, so we had to avoid having the smoke from our cooking get to the smoke detectors. We cooked in there and we saved ourselves a ton of money. If each of us contributed $20, we did a good grocery shopping trip and it lasted for the four to eight days of the road trip.”

There’s so much more insight in ESPN’s piece, so make sure you check it out.

READ: This Is Why I Don’t See Baseball As A “White Sport” Anymore

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There Are Few Things Latinos Love In This World More Than Vaporú And There’s Good Reason For It

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There Are Few Things Latinos Love In This World More Than Vaporú And There’s Good Reason For It

mitú

You know how *some* folks say there is no magic cure or magic pill you can take to ease life’s worries? They’re just missing out on the opioid for the Latinx masses: Vicks Vaporub (or, as our mamis call it, Vaporú). Just knowing that Vicks exists is a comfort to end all worries in our lives. Growing up Latino means being perpetually fear-mongered into thinking you’ll catch pneumonia if you leave the house without a sweater and doing it anyway because of Vicks.

All those memories of our abuelas and mamas rubbing Vicks on our bruises, mosquito bites and more are made more magical by the song they sang to us while they healed us: “Sana, sana, colita de rana.” Maybe the magic of Vicks is the “Sana, sana.” Who can say? All we know is that combined, it can cure anything. Hence, the idolization of medicine for Latinos:

1. Vicks can cure insomnia, so why not sleep on a Vicks-inspired pillow?

Credit: mitú

The Barrio Shop sells this multi-use pillow for just $24.99. Rub Vicks under your nose and fall asleep to the eucalyptus smell that has been proven to help with sleep in children. 

2. Vicks also cures all emotional pain. Going through a breakup? Apply Vicks to it and continue to cry into this pillow.

Credit: mitú

It comes with the pillow inside, but you can take off the case and wash it after a night of crying all over it. Todo bien.

3. Latinos have reliably used Vicks to induce crying for manipulative gain.

Credit: @AlvarezCa_ / Twitter

Vicks not only cures emotional pain, but it can also help you fake it. Everyone knows that novela stars would rub Vicks under their eyes before a dramatic scene because the fumes are so intense, it makes your eyes water. Everyone also knows that every Latino child has used the same method to fake a crying spell to get what we want. We’re evil geniuses like that, gracias a Vaporú.

4. We all know that just having Vicks on our person at all times is like the evil eye to injuries.

Credit: mitú

Making sure you have a tiny tube on hand helps ward off injuries. Plus, we’re ready for any bruise, blunt force trauma or freak accident, thanks to that tiny, pungent tube. Carrying mitú’s Sana Sana pin has the same warding-off properties.

5. Latinos also know not to go afuera during mosquito season without Vicks slathered all over our bodies.

Credit: @bzz_mosquitos / Twitter

Is it the smell that wards mosquitos away? We don’t know. All we know is if you get bit by a demonic mosquito that is unaffected by the holiness of Vicks, you can just rub Vicks on the bite, too, and it will cure it.

6. We also grew up laughing at expensive acne-clearing brands because Vicks could cure that anyway.

Credit: mitú

Doctors don’t advise it, but they actually don’t advise using Vicks for anything other than cough suppressant and aching joints. Puesss, what do they know?

7. Latinos grow up to be medical professionals that also swear by Vicks.

Credit: mitú

Honestly, as a patient, seeing that pin would just bestow approximately 1400 percent more trust in my medical provider. Like, I don’t want to hear about how Vicks is destroying my sense of smell or that I can’t rub it on my throat for a sore throat. 

8. Instead of being cranky about a cafecito-withdrawal headache, we make more cafecito and rub Vicks into our temples.

Credit: mitú

Latinos’ relationship with cafecito is a whole other story. Por cierto, blessing your forehead with the panacea of Vicks cures us of our headaches every time. And yes, we’re better for it.

9. Who needs an expensive podiatrist to cure foot fungus when we have Vicks?

Credit: @Gardenbella / Twitter

It’s hard to say whether we generally have fungus-free feet or not given that we’re never allowed to walk around barefoot, but the story goes that Vicks will cure toe fungus. The moms all say that the gel “suffocates” the fungus and it dies. Gross, but at least our feet smell great.

10. Vicks has also made Latina moms straight-up superheroes.

Credit: @ispeakcomedy / Twitter

Wow. It must be hard for other moms to not Latina-mom levels of confidence, sponsored by Vicks Vaporub. [This post is not sponsored by Vicks Vaporub].

11. Dare we say that Vicks offers, a menos, a placebo effect to our kind?

Credit: mitú

Doctors have come out warning the Latino community that Vicks can actually worsen sunburns, acne and open, bleeding wounds. All we know is that our people are suffering less with Vicks in our lives, and pinned to our jackets, and that’s got to make us more fun to be around. :’)

A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

Culture

A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

When it comes to maintaining and seeing our Latinidad flourish, instilling a sense of pride, excitement, and curiosity in our younger generations is key. Particularly when it comes to the past. One Twitter user’s recent birthday celebrations for her son, emphasized just how much teaching the old to the new is vital.

Way back before Twitter user @whoissd’s son Silas Cash C turned 1 year old, living in Southern California crafted a car style called “lowrider” that expressed pride in their culture and presence in the states. While the brightly painted, lowriding automobiles that were outfitted with special hydraulics that made them bounce up and down saw a peak in the 1970s, they remain a big part of Chicano culture, particularly in Los Angeles.

@whoissd’s son Silas is proving that he’ll be part of a generation that will not let the culture die out recently when he celebrated his first full year with a theme that was little more unique and closer to his family’s hearts.

For her son, Silas Cash’s, first birthday, SD threw an authentic lowrider party — complete with the recognizable cruisers in attendance.

Twitter / @whoissd

On July 27, SD shared pics of the big event with her Twitter followers. The post showed baby Silas Cash cruising in his own pint-sized orange lowrider. The party came complete with several lowriders and classic cars in attendance for party-goers to check out. Since posting the adorable pics on Twitter, the message has received more than 22.5k retweets and over 138k likes.

According to SD, Silas Cash developed a fascination with lowriders because of his dad. In an email to REMEZCLA, the mom explained the connection.

“[My son’s dad] started restoring two cars to continue a bond that he had shared with his own father throughout his childhood and it’s now something that the has been introduced to our son. The lowrider culture represents family, unity, and respect to us. It really is a beautiful thing.”

The one-year old’s mini lowrider had to be specially made in Japan just for his birthday party.

Twitter / @whoissd

Silas Cash’s mom explained the decision to have the tiny lowrider made for her kiddo.

“We originally thought about getting Silas his own lowrider because of the immediate attraction he has to his dad’s Impala. With enough searching, we were able to find someone who custom makes remote-controlled pedal cars, and we were sold… Silas and his dad have matching orange ’63 Impalas with the same candy paint hardtops to match.”

Twitter was quick to react to the simply adorable party and they couldn’t stop gushing over it.

Twitter / @cali_kalypso

As this tweet points out, this party is so authentically LA. Lowrider culture started in the streets of California in the mid-to-late 1940s and the post-war ’50s. Chicano youth would lower their car’s blocks, cut spring coils and alter auto frames in order to get the lowest and slowest ride possible. Back then, this was an act of rebellion against the Anglo authorities who suppressed Mexican-American culture.

This Snoop Dog meme says it all.

Twitter / @marissaa_cruzz

We’ve seen this meme make its rounds on the internet our fair share of times but this time it 100% applies. These pics of Baby Silas Cash and his mama are some of the cutest we’ve ever seen. The added bonus of the mini Impala makes this post almost too cute to handle.

A reminder that this little man is officially the coolest kid on the block.

Twitter / @devyn_the_lame

We can just see Baby Silas Cash pulling up to the playground in this custom low rider peddle cart and being the envy of all the other rugrats. There’s no doubt that he is the most chill kiddo at daycare.

*”Lowrider” plays in the distance*

Twitter / @JGar1105

We’re getting major “The George Lopez Show” flashbacks with all this lowrider talk. Don’t you think Silas Cash needs his own theme song? Obviously, there’s only one that is cool enough for the littlest lowrider.

Other tweets pointed out that it takes a fiercely cool mom to pull off this sort of party.

Twitter / @ismokemaryjuana

We’ve got to respect SD’s mom game. She really took her vision and went for it, resulting in a fun, unique and memorable party that her guests will never forget. Great job, mom; we hope Silas Cash grows up to realize how awesome his parents are.

 

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