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<< Back to Home is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story

Home is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story

St. Petersburg Times

Bamboo bats to the bigs

The beauty of baseball is found in all the subplots, the moments that build before each pitch. The more you know about the theatrics behind a hit-and-run, where the conflicts a pitcher faces battling to stay ahead in the count, the richer your baseball experience is.

But say your bent for the game’s nuances leans more toward human drama. Home is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story attempts to shed a little light on the odyssey endured by a significant segment of the grand old game's population: Latin ballplayers.

The photographs by Jose Luis Villegas offer a raw glimpse at what occupies a large part of many Latino ballplayers' consciousness: the abject poverty of their homeland and their country's burning passion for the game.

Full-color street shots of a barrio in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic capital, and the ramshackle playgrounds of San Pedro de Macoris, the "city of shortstops" where Dominican youth play barefoot, bare-chested and with bamboo sticks for bats, drive this home.

The volume's bilingual text by Marcos Breton chronicles the Latin prospect's journey to a foreign land, providing insights into the pressure these outsiders face trying to master huge cultural barriers while learning to handle a big league offspeed pitch. For many Latino big leaguers, the "Grandes Ligas" is still not without its cultural challenges and prejudices.

Home is Everything also portrays those who didn't make it and are now living as undocumented immigrants trying to scratch out a living in the United States. For every Miguel Tejada, the 2002 American League MVP, whose journey to the Oakland A's from Bani, the Dominican Republic, is featured in this book, there are countless more whose abilities didn't match their dreams.

As baseball enters its third century, Latin ballplayers are taking centerstage on the Diamond—
every major league baseball team has some Latin presence. Given the obvious language barrier in chronicling the stories of Latin players, bilingual photography books like Home is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story are invaluable in helping to understand what truly is the "game of the Americas."

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