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

Instagram/@cardinals/Araceli Cruz

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!
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: 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
CREDIT: 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. 

'Ingrid Goes West' Will Make Everyone Think Twice About What They Are Sharing On Social Media


‘Ingrid Goes West’ Will Make Everyone Think Twice About What They Are Sharing On Social Media

NEON / YouTube

This is probably the most Aubrey Plaza movie yet.

The trailer for “Ingrid Goes West” is out and the little teaser is giving us just enough to know that this is definitely an Aubrey Plaza project. The movie, which won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance Film Festival 2017, deals with something many younger moviegoers will relate to: social media obsessions. Plaza’s character Ingrid is like any other young woman, except she becomes terrifyingly obsessed with other young female “social influencers” and tries to befriend them. This movie is definitely addressing society’s obsession with living a perfect life on social media, which fits in neatly with the sometimes dark sense of humor that Plaza has built her career on.

We know from the jump that Ingrid might have a few problems.

NEON / YouTube

You can just feel the nervous energy coming off the screen when Plaza’s character sees a social celebrity’s wedding post. She looks like a friend who was left out of the party.

And it doesn’t take long for her to arrive at the wedding in time to pepper spray the bride. #tragic

NEON / YouTube

Ingrid does spend some time in a psychiatric ward to deal with her obsession of imitating and befriending social stars, but it doesn’t last.

After she gets out of the  psychiatric ward, Ingrid does what she does and moves out west to stalk and befriend her newest social media obsession, Taylor Sloan.

NEON / YouTube

What follows is a pulse-pounding montage of Ingrid attempting to become Sloan’s bestie.

READ: Aubrey Plaza Accidentally Revealed Who Her Long Term Boyfriend Is On The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

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