Wednesday, February 7, 2007

I Am Mexican

I am Mexican on this sunny baseball afternoon when there is nothing at stake but pride.

I am Mexican because we need a win in the Caribbean World Series. After capturing the championship in 2005, we went 0-6 in last year’s tournament and are currently 0-5 after two hard-fought defeats against Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic this year.

I am Mexican for Vinicio Castilla who will play his last game today. He played for 16 Major League seasons as Vinny and hit 320 home runs. He helped Hermosillo win the Mexican Winter League title and would like to walk away with one last victory.

I am Mexican for Fernando Valenzuela, who first defined his country for me. Every vision I have of Dodger Stadium is with Fernando on the mound. If I ever make it to Chavez Ravine I expect to see him rocking, twisting and delivering.

I am Mexican for the great Hector Espino.

I am Mexican for all the hardworking people in Mexico City and Guadalajara and Monterrey and Puebla and Toluca and Tijuana and, of course, Hermosillo.

I am Mexican for all the hardworking people in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and Pennsylvania and every other state in this country.

I am Mexican because I want this last great winter baseball day to end with a ball sailing over the wall at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium in Carolina, Puerto Rico. I want to see Vinicio Castilla round first base with his hands raised. I want his teammates to lift him on their shoulders. I want this for him, for them, for me and for us because today we are all Mexican.

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