Baseball, Latino America’s pastime, faces new challenges in age of Trump

(Jose Altuve, right, of Venezuela helped the Astros to the World Series last season. Photograph: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Karina Moreno and Mike Elk went down to spring training in Bradenton, Florida to file this dispatch for the Guardian:

For nearly 130 years, young men like Astudillo have been trying to break into the big leagues in baseball at spring training – their annual chance to impress the owners of Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs, and for the fans a chance to check out talent before the season’s opening on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Astudillo, a career .311 hitter, has been a star of the minor leagues, which act as training grounds for the big teams, for the last few years and is hoping for a permanent spot with the Twins this year.

But this year there’s a cloud over baseball. And as players prepare for the new season, Astudillo says that in the clubhouse, one subject is on the mind of his fellow Latino ball players – Trump’s immigration policies.

“We are conscious of everything happening, and the situation this country is currently in. It is regrettable,” said Astudillo as he took a swig of water in the Twins’ dugout. He’s particularly worried about Trump’s much-litigated travel ban that includes some people from Venezuela.

Baseball has long played a key role in conversations on racial equality in the United States. Jackie Robinson integrated the Major Leagues nearly eight years before Brown v Board of Education integrated public schools.

At a time when immigrants are under attack, “America’s pastime”, a third of whose players are Latino, could play a key role in helping to overcome barriers to racial equality for immigrants.

To read more, go to the Guardian. 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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