Baseball in the United States is an example of a transnational sport. People from around the world strive one day to be able to play Major League Baseball, which is easily the best baseball league in the world. Athletes come to America from Japan, Mexico, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, China, and many other countries to try to compete with the greatest baseball players in the world.
In Cuba and the Dominican Republic, baseball is essentially everything to young men. Baseball acts as an escape from their poverty-stricken countries into the United States, where players are paid millions of dollars to play professional baseball.
One of the more recent immigrant athletes to shock the baseball world goes by the name of Yoenis Céspedes. Nicknamed “La Potencia,” Céspedes was born and raised in Cuba surrounded by the game of baseball because of his mother who played for the Cuban Olympic softball team.
Yoenis played in the Cuban National series and was a part of the Cuban national baseball team, where he excelled in every aspect of the game as a “five-tool” outfielder. In hopes of achieving his dreams of playing in the United States and getting signed as a free agent in the MLB, Céspedes defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic, because direct immigration from Cuba to the United States is illegal. Yoenis then created a scouting video of himself including weight-lifting, throwing, batting practice, and other physical activities that displayed his talents. This video gained popularity on the internet, and Céspedes essentially signed a Major League Baseball contract because of it. He agreed to a four year, $36 million contract with the Oakland Athletics and has been called, “arguably the best all-around player to come out of Cuba in a generation.”
As an immigrant from a fairly poor country, I would argue that Yoenis’ story is one of success and overcoming extreme obstacles to live a dream. All immigrants come to the United States seeking opportunities for a better life, no matter what their life goals and dreams ultimately are. In his case, he is lucky enough to get paid to play a game that he loves, and so far has loved living the United States, and more importantly, playing for the Oakland A’s.
So, what do you think? Is his story of immigrating common enough to play a large role in our society, or did he “strike gold” and is now living a foreigner’s dream?
I find this story inspirational. The fact that it was through a Youtube video that he got attention from the baseball world really shows that hard work and perseverance can do wonders in overcoming difficulties. However, I do think that he struck gold, for there must be so many other talented players from all around the world that did not receive the attention that Cespedes received.
Interesting how technology enables us to do so much nowadays. It would fascinating to explore how baseball has become such an integral part of peoples cultures.