Whether it’s up-to-bat or on the pitcher’s mound, Latino athletes have become prevalent in the culture of Major League Baseball. Roughly 30 percent of MLB players are Latino, while the figure stands at about 40 percent in the minor leagues
They may not know everything about American culture, but they have plenty of knowledge about the game of baseball and how it can change their family’s economic standing. “In the past, baseball was dominated by white males, but today, baseball is the basketball of Latin America,” says Ed Lovelace, owner of Phew, a company that specializes in helping athletes get faster.
Lovelace has a simple philosophy when it comes to sports stars and speed: “Speed is like money. You either gain it or lose it. In order to get into competitive sports, you have to have speed.” He trains athletes in many sports, but Hispanic baseball players are a constant presence. “Over the next 10 years, you’re going to see baseball turn red, cocoa-brown, and blue,” he said.
Major League Baseball is an $89 million industry. The numbers speak for themselves and it makes sense that major league teams maintain a strong interest in player development. As stadiums fill with excited fans, they want to see their favorite players hit harder and throw faster. “That kind of performance keeps people in the stands and spending dollars,” Lovelace explained, “Baseball is a producer of luxury goods. When a player signs a 1.2 million dollar contract, he’ll probably buy a house for his family. He is now a consumer and contributing to the American economy. Baseball is not just a sport, it’s a means of hope for those who have nothing.”
Written by Keisha Price
Keisha Price is a freelance journalist from Chicago. She has contributed articles to TimeOut Chicago magazine.