Entertainment

Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

Whether or not you’re a big fan of baseball, Veronica Alvarez is a name you’ll want to keep on your radar. Hired as coach of the Oakland A’s earlier this year, Alvarez has had an impressive Major League baseball career—and it’s only getting better. As a catcher, coach, and California firefighter, Alvarez totally represents the limitless roles that badass Latinas can fill.

A first-generation Cuban-American, her traditional upbringing discouraged Alvarez from playing baseball. Her family did not support the idea that it was a sport for girls, but Alvarez still served as the bat girl for her brother’s team until she was old enough to join the Little League. And despite their attempts to pique her interest in more “feminine” activities, like ballet, her parents let her take this first step toward her passion. “For a Hispanic girl to be able to do whatever she wants—that’s not a norm, unfortunately. I’m very thankful to my parents for that, and for never limiting what I could accomplish,” Alvarez told Major League Baseball.

However, many women who grow up playing baseball in the U.S.—including Alvarez—switch to softball, due to a lack of infrastructure supporting women’s baseball at the collegiate level.

Credit: USA Baseball

It’s estimated that of 100,000 girls who play Little League baseball, only 1,000 continue with the sport until high school. From that point on, at the collegiate and professional levels, women more commonly play softball, so for those players who may be eligible to attend college on an athletic scholarship, the transition from baseball to softball makes a lot of sense. Alvarez was no exception to this trend—her switch to softball earned her a scholarship to play Division I ball at Villanova University, as well as an opportunity to spend a summer playing on a professional team in Spain.

Even after years of playing and excelling at softball, Alvarez could not stop thinking about her original dream: to dominate the baseball field. “I always felt like I was more of a baseball player playing softball than a softball player,” she told Bitch Media. “In baseball, there’s a game within the game, more strategy, more situational plays.” After returning from Spain in 2006, Alvarez searched for ways to reenter the world of baseball. She initially sought out The Silver Bullets, an all-female professional baseball team that played from 1994-1997. When she discovered that they no longer existed, she came upon the U.S. Women’s National Baseball Team (USWNT). She tried out for the USWNT in 2008, and has since played on the 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016 teams (she missed 2014 because she had just been hired as a firefighter, and the start date of this position was the same week as the tournament).

Since she first became involved with the USWNT, she has coached the USWNT team and collaborated with Major League Baseball (MLB) to create more opportunities for female baseball players around the country. She was also the only woman to coach at Spring Training this year.

When speaking to Major League Baseball about her Spring Training experience, Alvarez said, “I’m trying to show girls and women that you can accomplish everything … for every little girl that has a dream to be involved in the game, to let them know that it’s a possibility, that you just have to set your mind to it and work hard.”

She doesn’t just talk the talk—Alvarez walks the walk. In April, she helped facilitate MLB’s Trailblazer Series, a tournament in California that brings girls together to play their sport with support and solidarity. Add to that the Breakthrough Series for girls and the MLB Grit high-school baseball tournament, and you’ve got a sure-fire way to provide young female players with opportunities for development and a channel through which to be scouted for the USWNT. “They come to these events and they see that women play the game, that they’re accomplished and well-rounded,” said Alvarez. “I think it’s so cool that everyone’s there to kind of promote accomplishing your dreams no matter what.”

Alvarez aims to continue developing infrastructure for female baseball players to achieve their dreams. While there is a (more or less) clear career trajectory for men in baseball, many girls don’t realize that there is a Major League team just waiting for them, and Alvarez wants to change that. “I want the girls to know we exist,” Alvarez said. “Not for our fame, but for them just to have that kind of sense of security that they’re not different from others, just because they like a game that girls don’t usually play.” As a pioneering figure with a dearth of experience under her belt, Alvarez is the perfect person to lead the way for new generations of girls in baseball.

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A Drug Kingpin Accused Of Ordering The Shooting Of David Ortiz Was Arrested In Colombia For Drug Smuggling

Entertainment

A Drug Kingpin Accused Of Ordering The Shooting Of David Ortiz Was Arrested In Colombia For Drug Smuggling

davidortiz / Instagram

A Dominican drug kingpin was arrested in Colombia, just hours before an international flight, and it’s raising questions about his connection to the shooting of baseball legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz. “César the Abuser” Emilio Peralta had arrived by yacht from the Dominican Republic to Cartagena, Colombia, where authorities arrested him in Bocagrande, a wealthy neighborhood in the country’s entertainment capital. Peralta became known as one of the Dominican Republic’s most powerful drug kingpins, operating a drug trafficking scheme to move heroin and cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela through the Dominican Republic and the United States. His operation was so significant, the FBI had offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest, which Peralta had been evading since August 2018.

Peralta has passionately denied any involvement in Ortiz’s shooting. 

CREDIT: @ANARIDIS / TWITTER

“David is like my brother. We were neighbors for four years. I have never been with one of David’s women and David was never involved with any of mine. When David comes from out there [the United States] he brings me my perfume, my gift, my sneakers. David is crazy with my children. My children love him,” Peralta reportedly said in an audio recording.

Meanwhile, Ortiz’s spokesman, Joe Baerlein told The New York Post that Ortiz sold his condo after he saw “Peralta’s thugs hanging out in the building.” The conflicting reports have led to questions about Peralta’s involvement in Ortiz’s shooting.

Rumors spread that Ortiz was involved in a love triangle with Peralta that reached a breaking point the day before his shooting.

CREDIT: @PORTAZONA / TWITTER

The local paper, El Dominicano, reported that Ortiz had bought Peralta’s girlfriend, Dominican model Maria Yeribell Martinez Garcia, a luxury Lexus SUV. The June 8 report included an alleged ownership pink slip in Martinez Garcia’s name along with a check signed by Ortiz. On June 9, Ortiz was shot several times in the back while enjoying a drink at the Dial Bar and Lounge in East Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ortiz immediately underwent a 6-hour surgery, during which portions of his intestines, colon, and his entire gallbladder were removed. On June 10, the Red Sox sent a medical flight to bring Ortiz for two more surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

At the hospital, Martinez Garcia was captured on video fighting with another woman, Fary Almanzar Fernandez, in the waiting room for Ortiz. Ortiz’s spokesman told The New York Post that Ortiz “considers her a friend and he has been seen with her at public places with other people around,” and that El Papi did not buy her a car.

Peralta has not been formally charged in any connection to Ortiz’s shooting.

CREDIT: @HJTHEREALJ / TWITTER

The Daily Mail reports that Peralta was captured on video surveillance walking outside the medical facility in the “moments after” Ortiz’s shooting. Authorities have emphasized that Ortiz was not the intended target of the attempted assassination, but rather was ordered by Mexican drug lord Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez and intended for his cousin, Sixto David Fernández. Remarkably, the shooter shot Ortiz because he was wearing white pants, which resembled the blurry photo of the intended mark, which was obscured by a white object. Gomez Vasquez was arrested on June 28, along with Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, who allegedly took that fateful photo of Ortiz and Fernández.

Ortiz was released from Mass. General six weeks after his shooting, and was still unable to eat food. 

Peralta’s two-decade reign over his Latin American cocaine and heroin trafficking trade seems to be over.

CREDIT: @ANARIDIS / TWITTER

Puerto Rican FBI officials say that Peralta had been conducting an illicit drug trade since 1997. In 2000, Peralta was arrested in Santo Domingo for possessing more than four kilos of cocaine. In 2007, he was linked to a 215 kilos shipment of cocaine, but not convicted. The United States announced charges against Peralta in August and raided 40 properties linked to Peralta, including the condo that once shared the same building as Ortiz’s residence. 

“Cesar Emilio Peralta and his criminal organization have used violence and corruption in the Dominican Republic to traffic tons of cocaine and opioids into the United States and Europe. Treasury is targeting these Dominican drug kingpins, their front persons, and the nightclubs they have used to launder money and traffic women,” the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence agency said in a statement. Two MLB players were arrested and later released for allegedly laundering Peralta’s drug money. Officials state that more information will be released later.

READ: Authorities Identify Person Of Interest In Planned Shooting Of David Ortiz

Veterans Hold ‘Veterans For Impeachment’ Sign Behind Home Plate During World Series Game

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Veterans Hold ‘Veterans For Impeachment’ Sign Behind Home Plate During World Series Game

@abeaujon / @skolanach / Twitter

President Trump may have carved time out to watch the Houston Astros-Washington Nationals World Series game at Nationals Park, but he left early after a stadium of fans booed him. A banner that read “Impeach Trump” unfolded before his very eyes, and two sets of veterans held up two “Veterans for Impeachment” signs behind home plate.

Trump and Melania were joined in their Washington Suite by daughter Ivanka Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Steve Scalise (R-La.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and others. Critics are also wondering why Trump didn’t elect to take his 12-year-old son to the World Series event.

When the boos first started, Trump reacts briefly by turning to his wife, Melania.

Credit: @skolanach / Twitter

Trump had inconspicuously arrived just after the first inning. The Game 5 World Series event was an apolitical American pastime medium of entertainment until the third inning, during the salute to veterans. The ballpark began streaming a segment for veterans on the big screen. Fans cheered in honor of veterans.

Then, the video panned over to Trump. The cheers dwindled and the boos and heckling could not be missed. Trump’s face falls for a moment as he turns over to Melania, who seems more advanced in maintaining a poker face.

For several minutes, Trump and his entourage white-knuckled their smiles while the crowd chanted, “Lock Him Up!” 

Credit: @skolanach / Twitter

Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry for allegedly trading U.S. resources for Ukraine’s assistance in helping him win his 2020 campaign. Though Trump had announced hours earlier a victory against ISIS, this sold-out stadium of Americans was more concerned with his illegal attempt to use our tax dollars for his personal gain.

In fact, the Washington Post reports that Trump has “virtually never been seen in Washington outside the White House, his own hotel, and a handful of other highly controlled settings.” While Trump has happily allowed his supporters to chant, “Lock Her Up!,” in reference to Hillary Clinton, this may be the first time Trump has been in a crowd full of dissenters. It was a big crowd. Huge. 

Home plate seats that typically go for $10k were occupied by “Veterans for Impeachment” sign holders.

Credit: @abeaujon / Twitter

That means their message was aired on national television to 10.22 million viewers on television alone. The men holding the signs, Alan Pitts and Naveed Shah, are Iraq vets who volunteer with Common Defense, an entire organization of veterans against Trump. “It’s beyond time for Congress to do their job and uphold the oath they swore and Impeach this President,” Pitts later tweeted. “I’m proud of myself and @ArmyofNaveed for keeping our oath and ruining @realDonaldTrump trip to the game!! #VetsForImpeachment.”

Trump must have expected some negative reaction because he planned to skip the presidential tradition of throwing the first pitch.

Credit: @Clark408 / Twitter

Trump won just 4 percent of the popular vote in the District of Colombia, so it’s no surprise that the stadium would be packed with critics of Trump. That said, it was Trump’s idea to attend the game. While MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he and Trump discussed if he would like to throw the first pitch, as is the tradition for Presidents, Nationals owner Mark Lerner made it clear that he did not invite Trump to be honored with that ceremony.

Instead, the MLB chose José Andrés, a Spanish immigrant, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee for his work to aid Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Credit: @BillyBaldwin / Twitter

José Andrés is a world-famous chef and humanitarian, best known for creating a network that fed 2.2 million warm meals to Puerto Ricans in just forty days. Andrés has been an open critic of Trump, pulling out from a restaurant deal with the Trump International Hotel after Trump’s campaign announced its anti-immigration policy rooted in racist rhetoric. They were in a legal battle over the contract until 2017.

The MLB knew that Game 5 would be the only game Trump would attend. Andrés received a longer-than-usual, cheerful standing ovation.

Meanwhile, the entire Lerner family, owners of the Washington Nationals, actively tried to avoid interacting with Trump.

Credit: @KellyKenneally / Twitter

The Lerner family, who owns the Washington Nationals, requested Major League Baseball to protect the family from having to deny a request to sit with Trump, according to WUSA9. Instead, Trump sat in the Washington suite in Section 119.

Washington has spoken and spoken loudly.

Credit: @malz_agner / Twitter

Veterans organized their dissent. Fans hung an “Impeach Trump” sign along the rafters. A wealthy family refused to find common ground with Trump. The MLB strategically placed José Andrés and his message in front of a crowd who gave him a sustained standing ovation. Then, that same crowd spontaneously booed Trump, who left after the 10th inning. 

Still, FOX News’ report of the same negative press for Trump was limited to, “They were greeted with mixed reaction.”

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