South Americans Are Taking Over Baseball

People paying attention to baseball over the past few years have most likely noticed the uptick in players coming from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and other South American and Hispanic countries. While this phenomena, of sorts, has been noticed, it doesn’t seem to be discussed all that much. The Census Office of the United States of America has predicted that by 2050, there will be more Spanish speakers in the USA than in any other country in the world. This means that along with births resulting in Spanish speakers, more and more immigrants are going to be coming to the US from countries like Venezuela and others. This means that the institutions that Americans love, including sports, are going to change.

miguel angel ortega gonzalez, venezuela

Wilmer Flores, A Venezuelan Baseball Player by KATHY WILLENS/AP

According to official Major League Baseball (MLB) Central Office statistics, nearly 30% of current professional baseball players identify as Latino. Why are so many Latinos coming from other countries to play baseball in a country they’ve never been to before? It turns out that baseball is approached far differently in the South and Central American countries than it is in the United States. Like soccer is approached is in Europe, many countries like Venezuela identify promising young players while they’re still children and send them to academies (frequently state-funded) to gain both education as well as more baseball skills.

Wilmer Flores is just one example of a Venezuelan who was chosen at an early age for a world he could barely understand. In August 2007, at the age of 16, Flores signed his first contract with the New York Mets. Until that point, he had played for the Venezuelan baseball academy’s team. Flores couldn’t even speak English when he moved to the USA, something that many young Latino players deal with. Flores’ family was replaced by a family of Latino managers, coaches, and players, coming together to help each other out in a foreign country. Now the MLB has worked to lessen the impact of coming to the USA for Latino players, leading to more coming over and to more players in the MLB itself. The trend seems as though it’s only going to continue too.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

from Miguel Angel Ortega Gonzalez – Sports


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