The Major League Baseball (MLB) season came to an immediate end last week when the San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers four games to zero and brought the World Series trophy back to the West Coast. Even though Major League Baseball was happy for the Giants’ unexpected successful run, many MLB executives took out their brooms to sweep the 2012 World Series under the rug as a result of record low TV ratings.
Besides the fact that TV ratings were at an all time low, due to the absence of a big market baseball team to boost up ratings, this year’s MLB season was memorable for Latinos nonetheless. According to Julio Pabon, writer for Latinosports.com, the World Series featured a total of twenty-two Latino players. Eleven came from both the Detroit and San Francisco roster (half of the active players).
The championship fall classic also featured baseball’s prestigious Triple Crown winner and likely American League MVP, Miguel Cabrera, from the Detroit Tigers. The Latino players in this field also broke records by having nine Venezuelans playing in the World Series, featuring Marco Scutaro, MVP of the NLCS and San Francisco third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, World Series MVP.
Besides playing exceptionally well, Pablo Sandoval also earned the MVP award by hitting three historic home runs in a World Series game. A feat only done four times before in its distinguished history by Babe Ruth in 1926 & 1928, Reggie Jackson in 1977, and most recently in 2011 by fellow Domenicano, Albert Pujols. Does this mean that Pablo Sandoval is of the same pedigree as The Babe, Mr. October, and Prince Albert? Nope. Not until he consistently produces these kinds of results. Nevertheless, Pablo Sandoval AKA “Kung Fu Panda” earned the title of Kung Fu master in San Francisco.
Even after the World Series was complete, don’t think that Latinos stopped there. Latino baseball players continued to add awards after the World Series too when the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were presented to players who had superior fielding performance at their position. This year four Latino ballplayers, Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano, Colorado left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre, and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, received one of the most coveted awards in baseball. These awards are not uncommon for Latino ballplayers to receive. After all, it was the fifth straight gold glove award for Molina and the second award for both Cano and Gonzalez.
The success of Latino ballplayers in Major League Baseball is now becoming more and more common, as more talent is being discovered and imported from Latin American countries. According to Bob Harking, NBCSports.com, Latino influence in baseball has increased significantly in the last two decades. The percentage of Latino players in the major leagues grew from 13% in 1990 to nearly 30% in 2006. This shows that America’s pastime is gaining a more distinct Latin flavor and it will only get spicier as baseball continues to evolve in the years to come.