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.

READ: Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

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

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Boston Red Sox Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez Suffering From Covid-Related Heart Inflammation

Entertainment

Boston Red Sox Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez Suffering From Covid-Related Heart Inflammation

Adam Glanzman / Getty Images

There is still a lot that we do not know about Covid-19 and the longterm effects of the virus. Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is learning the hard way how the virus attacks the body after a patient is “cured.”

The baseball world was excited to welcome Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez back.

As the MLB keeps pushing to salvage their Covid-postponed season restart, the virus has shown itself in a different way. After half of the Miami Marlins team tested positive for the virus, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox is suffering from health issues because of Covid.

Rodriguez is suffering from myocarditis, a heart condition.

The baseball player is suffering from a heart condition that is directly tied to his Covid-19 illness. While Rodriguez survived Covid-19, the heart condition is proof that there is so much more to know about what this virus does. Despite overcoming Covid, Rodriguez is still suffering from the effects of this unknown virus.

The lingering health effect is a reminder of the importance of not contracting the virus.

“That’s the most important part of your body,” Rodriguez told WEEI. “The first time I hear, I was kind of scared a little. Now that I know what it is, I’m still scared, but now I know exactly what it is. I just talk to my mom, talk to my wife, let them know what I have, and now I’ve got to take the rest.”

There is more to Covid-19 than the immediate death and recovery rates.

Health experts and doctors have been warning people about the unknown effects of Covid-19. Rodriguez’s ongoing battle with Covid-19 is a hard reminder that not even the most in shape and athletic people are immune from the devastating effects of the virus. Be safe. Be careful.

READ: Miami Marlins Covid Outbreak Causes Chaos Of MLB Season After One Weekend

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