Thursday, October 18, 2007

This is News? is running a story about the contributions of Latinos to the Colorado Rockies' success:

They could not have done so without strong contributions from their Latino players. Where would the Rockies be without starters Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales and closer Manny Corpas? How can you replace the contributions from catcher Yorvit Torrealba and center fielder Willy Taveras in the NLCS?

You can't. It's that simple.

In the series-clincher, it was Morales, Venezuelan starter, who kept his team in the game and Diamondbacks baserunners on the bench . . . Jimenez, from the Dominican Republic, was even better. In Game 3 of the NLCS, he gave up one run on five hits in five innings against the Diamondbacks . . . Torrealba's three-run home run in Game 3 made him an instant hero at Coors Field. The emotional Venezuelan's homer off his good friend, Diamondbacks starter Livan Hernandez, will go down as one of the most celebrated in franchise history.

Not to take away anything from the accomplishments of Morales, Jimenez, and Torrealba, but is it truly news these days for Latino players to be key contributors to winning baseball teams? It certainly wasn't a decade ago. What was the last team that won the World Series without major contributions from Latin players? Near as I can tell it was the 1995 Braves, and that's only if you discount Javy Lopez's contribution as something less than major and pretend that Rafael Belliard didn't exist. Before that you probably have to go to the 1991 Twins.

I guess dog-bites-man stories like these are the kinds of things you have to deal with when you have pointless off-days smack dab in the middle of the playoffs and nothing particularly new to write about.

As someone who depends on interesting baseball stories in order to ply his craft I can't begin to tell you how terrifying is the prospect of Cleveland clinching tomorrow night, leaving baseball writers five baseball-free days to fill. Come Monday we may be reading about how short dudes tend to play second base and crappy ex-catchers tend to become decent managers.

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