The Washington Nationals Won The World Series And Latino Players Had Their Footprints All Over The Triumph
We are coming off one of the most thrilling World Series in recent years where we saw the underdog Washington Nationals take down the Houston Astros in seven games. The Nationals 6-2 win in Game 7 clinched the first title for the team 14 years after the franchise arrived from Montreal. It also marked the first World Series title in Washington since 1924.
The series was also a landmark moment for Latino representation on baseball’s biggest stage. You had stars like Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is Mexican-American, outfielder Juan Soto, from the Dominican Republic and outfielder Gerardo Parra, who hails from Venezuela. This also includes Nationals manager Dave Martinez, a Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican, who became just the third Latino MLB manager to ever win a World Series.
“I love seeing the impact of that Latino spirit and zest for the game,” Adrian Burgos, who teaches U.S. Latino history at the University of Illinois and has written several baseball books, told NPR. “The game is evolving to include that passion that Latinos have for the game, the enjoyment they bring.”
This World Series is indicative of the growing Latino presence in America’s national pastime. It’s also proof of the success and impact Latino baseball players are having in the league.
There’s no denying the impact that Latino ballplayers are having in the major leagues. Many have become the face of a new movement in baseball that encourages dancing in the dugout, bat flips after home runs, and embracing the camaraderie of the sport. This was all showcased in the World Series and serves as a reminder of the growing presence and impact that Latinos are having in the game.
“Not only is the Nationals as a team a reflection of what is happening in baseball, it’s unusually stocked with Latinos, especially Dominican and Venezuelan talent,” Ray Suarez, a journalist and author, told NBC Latino.
Suarez is right. While Latinos make up 31.9 percent of the overall player demographic, the Nationals excel in bringing up Latino players in their baseball pipeline. This diverse collection of players was seen throughout the World Series with many of them, like Rendon and Soto, coming up in the big moments.
Rendon hit .276 in the World Series, homering in Games 6 and 7 and leading the team in runs batted in, with eight. Soto had his multiple breakout moments in the series hitting three home runs, two doubles and seven RBI’s.
After the Nationals clinched the title, many Latin players took to the field carrying flags from their birth countries during the trophy celebration.
National pride was seen on the field during post game celebrations as players like Soto and Fernando Rodney were seen waving a Dominican Republic flag. This heartwarming moment is an example of the deep roots that the Nationals players have to their home as well as the efforts the baseball club has on the island.
The Nationals, like every other MLB team, have a youth baseball academy in the Dominican Republic that serves as a pipeline of international talent. Soto and countless others have made their way up through this system and have enjoyed massive success at the big league level. This World Series was proof enough of the impact Latin players are having on the biggest stages in baseball.
The same goes for the Houston Astros who have also followed similar talent pipelines. The is also made up of a majority of Latino star players that made a huge impact this postseason. Shortstop Carlos Correa, second baseman José Altuve, outfielder Yordan Alvarez and pitcher José Urquidy all were key contributors to the Astros World Series run this year.
The Nationals victory should serve as a reminder of the impact that Latinos are having on the game of baseball today.
We live in times where rhetoric towards the Latino community has been divisive well too common, some of that coming from the president himself. Suarez looks at things differently and says the Nationals victory should serve as a reminder of the continued positive impact that Latino players are having on the game today.
“I guess you can look at the World Series and decide whether or not the rest of the hemisphere is sending its best,” Suarez said. “I think it is. They are sending their best and winning the World Series.”