Entertainment

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

I hate to sound like a cliche, but I’ve never really been into sports. Growing up in Los Angeles, my family would watch the Lakers on T.V. or go to an occasional baseball game at Dodger Stadium, but I wasn’t passionate about it unless there was some sort of personal connection I could relate to.

That personal connection came while watching sports with my dad.

That’s my dad!

My dad will literally watch soccer and boxing all day long. I always enjoyed the social aspect to viewing boxing because we’d always have tons of people come over to our house and chip in for pay-per-view fights. I loved the excitement that the outcome of a fight would bring — especially when we’d do a quiniela and someone would win lots of cash.

Sure, sports are a fun social event, but there was still a disconnect between me and the actual sport.

However, when it comes to family, my parents taught me that we’d always have to support each other and be each other’s biggest cheerleader, whether it is sports, music, or whatever.

That is why I actually believed that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela was related to me.

#fernandovalenzuela #baseballlegend #valenzuela

A post shared by Jessie Caldera'Valenzuela (@jessie_caldera_valenzuela) on

I know that sounds ridiculous, but because my dad never really cared for baseball all that much, it was strange to me that he got so excited when Valenzuela was on the field. But in the ’80s, “Fernandomania” spread throughout Los Angeles, especially in the Mexican community, which was proud to see one of its own perform so well on such a big stage. Also, Valenzuela looked like us! So I assumed, as a kid, that we were related. I believe that is where my love-hate relationship with baseball first began.

I rarely saw any Latinos in baseball as a kid, and it was difficult for me to understand the power of the game without feeling that personal connection the sport. I came to see baseball as a “white sport” and really disregarded it.

My heart and mind began to understand baseball on a different level, and that’s mainly because two people: My husband and late Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.

Aaron Belz/Instagram @miamifitclub

My husband, Aaron, adores the St. Louis Cardinals on a level that is insane but also very cute. Yet still, I wasn’t going to allow my husband’s passion for baseball take over my life. I didn’t understand the game and still viewed it as an “American” sport. But he had patience with me. He began to tell me about the countless Latinos who were currently playing in Major League Baseball — more than 25 percent. I was floored.

The other man that changed baseball for me was Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins pitcher who tragically died in a boating accident last year. His story about how he and his mother fought to come to America from Cuba despite being rejected numerous times really struck a chord with me.

So many other Latino baseball players have similar stories of perseverance. They worked hard, despite all odds, to make something of themselves. It reminds me of my parents.

Facebook/The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame

Not only are these Latino baseball players incredible athletes, but they have huge hearts and have a drive to give back to their community.

I have so much respect for players such as St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who not only do great charity work but also are passionate about their culture.

voy a los mios pago triple ñeta ! #aquinohaymiedocabronesquepajooo ????????????????????????????

A post shared by Yadier Molina (@yadier_marciano_molina) on

I had a blast watching the 2017 World Baseball Classic because so many players represented the country where they come from. It was so moving to see them play with such passion because they wanted to make their people proud.

But now that the MLB has begun, I am so excited to be truly engaged in the game for the first time ever.

Tonight's ?

A post shared by St. Louis Cardinals (@cardinals) on

Now when I watch the Cardinals play, you bet your ass I am cheering on Molina and third basemen Jhonny Peralta, and pitcher Carlos Martinez, but also infielder Matt Carpenter and pitcher Seung-hwan Oh.

I’ve come to learn about all of their stories and now understand that baseball is not just an “American thing.” And it’s not just a Latino thing. It’s a team thing. It’s about sportsmanship and the history of the game, which includes players from all over the world. It’s not a “white sport” like I believed. It’s truly a sport that unites us all.

READ: This Has To Be The Most Nonchalant Bat Catch In Baseball History

Who’s your favorite baseball team? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting in the section below. 

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Michael Jordan Says His Final Text Messages With Kobe Bryant Were About Good Tequila

Entertainment

Michael Jordan Says His Final Text Messages With Kobe Bryant Were About Good Tequila

A little over a year has passed since the tragic news of NBA star Kobe Bryant’s death made headlines. The shooting guard‘s sudden death in Calabasas, California, rocked the worlds of his family, friends, former teammates, and many of his fans. On Feb. 24, a public memorial service held at Staples Center saw various people in his life give speeches, including his wife Vanessa Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and his longtime friend and rival Michael Jordan. The former Chicago Bulls player gave a heart-rendering speech filled with fond memories of Bryant and tears. A year later, the former shooting guard admits that he still gets choked up when he remembered Bryant.

According to Jordan, he becomes particularly emotional when reflecting on the 17-month old text messages between him and his old friend.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jordan revealed that his final messages with Bryant were about family, basketball, and tequila.

In a series of text messages that took place weeks before Bryant’s death, Jordan says that he and the late basketball icon spoke about their family and good tequila. The two basketball players last texted seven weeks before Bryant’s death on Dec. 8, 2019.

“This tequila is awesome,” Bryant wrote in a text to Jordan. The message was about Jordan’s tequila brand, which he had sent to his formal rival.

In response, Jordan said, “Thank you, my brother.”

Bryant: “Yes, sir. Family good?”

Jordan: “All good. Yours?”

Bryant “All good.”

“He was just so happy,” Jordan explained to MacMullan. “He was doing so well.”

Jordan explained in his interview that at this point in his life, Bryant was fully invested in coaching his late daughter Gigi.

“Happy holidays,” Jordan went onto text Bryant in the message string, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”

Bryant replied, “Ah, back at you, man. Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”

Jordan explained that Bryant had found so much joy in coaching his daughter’s basketball team.

Speaking about the text thread, Jordan told ESPN, “I just love that text, because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”

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Family Of Man Who Died From Taco Eating Contest Sue Fresno Grizzlies Owner

Entertainment

Family Of Man Who Died From Taco Eating Contest Sue Fresno Grizzlies Owner

Dana Hutchings, 41, entered a taco eating contest during a Fresno Grizzlies game in 2019. He choked and died during the contest and now his son has filed a lawsuit against the baseball team.

The son of a man who died from a taco eating contest is suing for wrongful death.

Dana Hutchings, 41, died after choking during a taco eating contest during a Fresno Grizzlies game. His son has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that the event organizers were not equipped to host the event. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the organizers failed to provide a medical response team.

“People say all the time he knew what he was getting into, well clearly he didn’t,” Martin Taleisnik, an attorney representing Hutchings’ son, Marshall told CBS17.

Marshall and his attorney are pushing back at the notion that Dana should have known better.

People have sounded off on social media criticizing the family for filing the lawsuit. Yet, the family and their attorney are calling attention to the lack of information given to contestants.

“If you don’t know all the pitfalls, how can you truly be consenting and participating freely and voluntarily? It’s a risk that resulted in a major loss to Marshall,” Taleisnik told CBS17.

Dana’s family is seeking a monetary settlement from the Fresno Grizzlies owners.

The wrongful death lawsuit names Fresno Sports and Events as the responsible party. The lawsuit also notes that alcohol was made available to contestants and added to the likelihood of the tragedy.

“We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening’s game has passed away. The Fresno Grizzlies extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Hutchings,” a statement from the Fresno Grizzlies read after the death in 2019. “The safety and security of our fans is our highest priority. We will work closely with local authorities and provide any helpful information that is requested.”

READ: Kobe Bryant’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Has Tragically Been Moved To Federal Court Despite Vanessa Bryant’s Pleas

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