SINCE ROBERTO CLEMENTE emerged as the first Latino superstar in the 1960s, Latino players have been bringing their bat flips, broad smiles and exciting play to a pastime that feels ever more international. Last season 207 Latino players appeared on Opening Day rosters, comprising a full 24 percent of the league. And while these players come from different countries, backgrounds and lifestyles, the one thing that unites them is their boundless love for the game -- one they display every time they step onto a ballfield. In that spirit, ESPN is launching Béisbol Life, a season-long project featuring stories in The Magazine, on ESPN.com, ESPN Deportes, Baseball Tonight, SportsCenter and almost every one of our other platforms, in English and Spanish.
There is no denying the emerging fountain of young talent that will be featured in our project this year -- players like Mexico's Julio Urias, who describes watching Netflix to learn English, or Puerto Rican Carlos Correa, who sought out Venezuelan veteran Jose Altuve as a mentor after being called up to the majors. Perhaps no one epitomizes this Latin youth movement better than childhood friends Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor, who played against each other in the World Series last year. "We hope the young people in Puerto Rico understand that Javy and I grew up with very few things, but we had the support of our parents and the desire and hunger to excel," Lindor told us last year. "We want to inspire all kids, not only from Puerto Rico but from all of Latin America." ... Click here to read the rest of Pedro Gomez's essay (Spanish version) about the "Béisbol Life" project.
More from the Béisbol Life
• Marchand: Michael Pineda learned English the hard way
• Schoenfeld: How discrimination keeps Haitians out of MLB
• Video roundtable: Salvador Perez, Felix Hernandez and Rougned Odor