Sunday, February 28, 2010

Los Mets Al Sabor Venezolano

In keeping with the country of focus in the last post (Venezuela), I wanted to touch on the state of Latinos on the most Latino populated team in the Major Leagues: The New York Mets.

As spring training has begun for the 2010 Major League Season, the New York Mets have kept up with their nickname under GM Omar Minaya: Los Mets. Since Minaya took over the reins of GM in 2004, he has tapped into the Latino market by signing big named free agents Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran among many. This season is no different.

Though Minaya did not have a blockbuster Latino free agent signing this off-season, the Mets’ roster is full of Latino ballplayers. Let’s look at the Venezuela contingent.

Los Venezolanos (in clockwise order, photo property of the Topps Company)are made up of staff ace Johan Santana (Tovar, VZ), outfielder Fernando Nieve (Puerto Cabello), pitcher Kelvim Escobar (La Sabana), catcher Henry Blanco (Caracas) and closer Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez (Caracas). This marks the first time that five Venezuelans would be playing on the same team. Having Venezolanos on the roster for the Mets is not a rarity. Since their first Venezolano in 1962 (Elio Chacon), the Mets will have had 30 players from Venezuela on their rosters. The Latino presence is not limited to only Venezuela. The Mets have players from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, as well as, players born in the United States of Latino descent.

Here is the list of potential Latinos on the Mets opening day roster:

Johan Santana (Venezuela)
Francisco Rodriguez (Venezuela)
Fernando Nieve (Venezuela)
Henry Blanco (Venezuela)
Kelvim Escobar (Venezuela)

Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic)
Anderson Hernandez (Dominican Republic)
Luis Castillo (Dominican Republic)
Fernando Martinez (Dominican Republic)
Fernando Tatis (Dominican Republic)

Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico)
Pedro Feliciano (Puerto Rico)
Omir Santos (Puerto Rico)
Alex Cora (Puerto Rico)
Angel Pagan (Puerto Rico)

Oliver Perez (Mexico)
Arturo Lopez (Mexico)

Rod Barajas (California)

Even if half of these players don’t make the 25-man roster that would still leave the Mets with nine Latinos on the opening day roster. That would still be an impressive representation.

Que Viva Los Mets!!!

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