By Ramon Negron
The World Baseball Classic, el Clásico Mundial has already finished the qualifying tournament and the teams are set for 2017. Australia, Colombia, Japan, Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Korea, United States, China, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, China, Italy, Netherlands, and Israel will all be playing baseball in early March 2017 in a world tournament, anticipated to be its most attended and watched World Baseball Classic.
El Clásico Mundial, as Spanish speakers call it, is more than just about the game, it’s about pride. The same pride Jose Fernandez expressed every time he pitched, every time he smiled. You see, beisbol for Latinos can be considered a tradition ingrained in our genes; like un buen chancletaso, it leaves a mark that will never be forgotten. With greats such as Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Pedro Martinez, Omar Vizquel, David Ortiz, Mariano Rivera and many, many more, the American pastime has been greatly influenced by the Latino culture.
Amidst a financial debt crisis and a battle of opinions regarding its political status, Puerto Rico remains ready. The Clásico Mundial represents the fire within for Boricuas in the mainland. You see, it’s not all about Wall street when you’re on the diamond, it’s about la raza. With signs located in the metro area capturing some of the players on the world team including Yadier Molina, Fransisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, Kike Hernandez, George Springer and possible pitchers Jake Arrieta and Marcus Stroman, this may be Puerto Rico’s best team yet.
Why is this important…Well, it’s liberating! To win an international event such as the World baseball Classic for Puerto Rico is a step in the right direction, one that leads to emancipation. With the corruption that many speak about and feel day to day on the island as well being identified as somewhat of an outcast due to the lack of good leadership, it is time to put individual efforts together and steer our own ship.