The Latino stars repping the LA Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays at the World Series
Baseball is deeply ingrained in Latinx culture. Kenley Jansen, Kiké Hernandez, Willy Adames, and Randy Arozarena, are just four players heading to the World Series
The world witnessed a Major League Baseball postseason in a year unlike any other. It was a season marked by limited seating, eerily, yet convincingly-immersive crowd sound effects and showdowns limited to neutral stadiums. The beginning of the end starts on Oct. 20 with game 1 of the World Series.
This year’s Fall Classic is between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Dodgers most recently defeated the Atlanta Braves, in a close, 7-game series for the National League crown.
The Rays are World series-bound for only the second time in franchise history and are in search of their first championship. They beat the Houston Astros to book their ticket to the championship.
Both teams, interestingly, come from home bases with high Latinx demographics relative to the rest of the country.
Los Angeles County stands apart from the rest, with its roughly 50% Latinx demographic, and they’re similarly represented through the crowds at Dodger Stadium.
Latinx attendance at Dodger games is consistently around 45%, Jaime Jarrin, the Dodgers’ longtime Spanish-language radio announcer told the New York Times in 2017.
Baseball is deeply ingrained in Latinx culture, not only in the states but all over Latin America, where many Latino players are drafted annually.
Hillsborough County, which encompasses Tampa Fl. is just under 30% Hispanic or Latino, according to figures from the last Census, but while the franchise has historically struggled with fan appeal, they are also one of the youngest teams in baseball.
In fact, the Rays won game seven against the Houston Astros, “in spite of Tampa Bay fans, and not in conjunction with them,” wrote the Tampa Bay Times.
After this year, however, the sentiments may change. They’re going to the World Series, after all.
For both teams, the feat has in part been spurred by standout Latino baseball stars.
But while the teams may not be matched in overall fan support, they’re evenly matched in terms of Latinx player demographics.
Having announced their 28-player World Series rosters Tuesday morning, both teams boast a modest 21% Latinx-makeup.
Game one is set to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, broadcast on FOX. Here’s a look at the Latinx players taking their teams all the way:
From the Dominican Republic, the right-handed pitcher has been with the Dodgers since 2015. During the series against the Braves, Báez struck-out a pair and gave up just one hit in an appearance in Game 5.
Born in Culiacán Sinaloa, relief-pitcher Urías brought home the Dodgers win in Game 7 against the Astros, tossing three perfect innings to end the game to send the Dodgers to the World Series. He’s only the second reliever to close-out a winner-take-all game with at least 3 no-hit innings, according to ESPN stats.
Hailing from Tuxpan, Nayarit, Mexico, 24-year-old pitcher is a shining example of the Dodger’s strong pitching this year. In-game 5 against the Braves, he came out of the bullpen and managed three key outs to get the win.
Born in Willemstad, Curaçao, closer Jansen “shut the door” on the Braves in the 9th inning to solidify a game 6 win with three pivotal strikeouts.
Enrique “Kiké” Hernandez
The second baseman born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, notably tied game 3 against the Braves with a pinch-hit homer that could be said sparked the Dodger’s nonstop momentum through the end of the playoffs.
From Caguas, Puerto Rico, the third baseman hit a home run to kick-off Game 4, and despite a loss that day, he’s expected to showcase that offensive prowess in the World Series.
The Dominican-born pitcher gave the Rays’ a series lead over Houston by sealing Game 3 after some crucial strikeouts.
The catcher born in Puerto Rico got the start in Game 3 against the Astros. Relatively new to the Rays’ full-time lineup, he’s one of two catchers on the World Series roster for the Rays.
Born in Santiago, Dominican Republic, the shortstop made headlines during the Rays’ playoff series against Houston with his spinning-out throw out of the Astros’ Alex Bregman during Game 7, and hitting a double to give the Rays a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning of Game 6
The Cuban-born third-baseman was part of the Rays’ impressive defensive showing on Oct. 14 that turned out to be an important victory for Tampa Bay in its trek to the World Series.
Also from Cuba, the Havana-born left fielder was named the MVP of the 2020 American League Championship Series. After hitting multiple homers during the postseason battle against Houston, Aronzarena is one to watch during the World Series.
A Dominican-born center fielder that can also hit, he multiple homers against the Astros to solidify the Rays place at the World Series.