We’ve talked often about the differences between U.S. and Latin American baseball culture and the friction that can sometimes cause. Be it controversies surrounding the language barrier, baseball’s unwritten rules, the acceptance — or lack of acceptance — of bat-flipping or on-field exuberance or the concerns about family members living in unstable circumstances in their home country, the life and professional existence of Latin American baseball players in the United States can be a very complicated one.
And that’s before you just get to the day-to-day stuff like where to find some good Latin American food in he Appalachian League.
Today ESPN has a feature in which 50 Latin American players talk about all of that stuff, in their own words. Each of the six large photos on the linked page go to a different topic: Family, Learning English, Food, Money, Ballpark Culture and Identity.
Often conversations about these subjects involve Americans like you and me talking about (or arguing about) it all and asserting what life must be like or should be like for these players. Taking our voices out of it and hearing directly from the ballplayers makes this must-click material.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.