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Bad Bunny releasing exclusive sneaker with adidas

Welcome to Qué Onda, Our Esquina's all-you-need-to-know in Latino sports and culture today.

Opening Day is on the horizon, and our excitement for the annual affair grows stronger with each passing day. But we’re still in the early stages of March, which means there’s a lot of Spring Training to be played. Elsewhere, the PGA is playing the Players Championship, and MLB: The Show unveiled its first brand new legend for the upcoming video game. Oh, and did we mention Bad Bunny is releasing an exclusive sneaker with Adidas.

There’s a lot to break down, so let’s get started with the big news:

Bad Bunny x adidas ink partnership

Bad Bunny, the world’s most popular Latino artist and one of the top musical artists performing right now, has been just about everywhere recently. Whether it’s competing in a WWE ring, performing on Saturday Night Live or releasing new music videos, there’s no shortage of content featuring the Boricua rapper.

That isn’t changing anytime soon as the rapper began an official creative partnership with sport and lifestyle brand adidas. Per adidas, the partnership will see the two coming together on multiple collaborative projects and products. In addition, keeping with Bad Bunny, real name Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio’s philanthropic efforts, adidas will distribute shoes to low-income communities in need throughout the duration of the partnership.

On March 17, fans will be able to get their hands on the first exclusive release, Bad Bunny’s take on the classic Forum Buckle Low sneaker. Titled “The First Café,” the sneaker pays homage to the cup of coffee that starts his daily routine. It features a mocha-like coloring throughout, a removable second tongue, heel lace locks and a hidden “YO VISTO ASÍ” on the velcro.

Sneakerheads will have to fork out $160, and the sneaker will release exclusively on the Confirmed app.

Latinos top PGA Tour

If golf is your fancy, then you’ll be happy to know that several Latinos are competing in this weekend’s The Players Championship tournament hosted at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla..

Joaquín Niemann (Chile), Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz (Mexico) and Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) are all in contention. The Golf Channel and NBC Sports have live coverage through the weekend.

Now onto some baseball:

Return of the Vlad

Since debuting in 2019, former No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hasn’t exactly made good on the hype that followed him.

Hoping to turn things around, Guerrero has lost 42 pounds since last July in an effort to get in shape and be stronger, quicker and more durable.

On Wednesday, Guerrero launched his first Spring Training home run, a towering 412-foot shot with a reported exit velocity of 111.2 mph.

A return to prospect form would instantly make the Blue Jays’ lineup even more dangerous than it already is heading into the ’21 season. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Heliot En Fuego

Heliot Ramos, the No. 83-ranked prospect overall and No. 3 in the San Francisco Giants’ organization, has been on fire to start Spring Training.

The 21-year-old Puerto Rican outfielder is 7-for-18 with three homers and 5 RBIs in seven games played this spring.

All signs point toward Ramos playing in the majors at some point in 2021. His presence plus the addition of catcher Joey Bart and 19-year-old Marco Luciano could very well make the Giants contenders some years down the line.

José Mota joins Angels booth

When the Los Angeles Angels open the ’21 season, fans will be listening to some new, albeit familiar voices commentating on games.

Fox Sports West and the Angels announced that Matt Vasgersian will take over for the departing Victor Rojas as the lead play-by-play person, and José Mota has been elevated to analyst. Together with Mark Gubicza, Angels games will have a three-man booth.

Mota, the son of the legendary Dodgers utility man Manny, a bilingual reporter had previously hosted the Angels pre and postgame shows.

Per Bob Nightengale, Mota will become the first former player born in Latin America to be a full-time broadcaster.

Mota was born in the Dominican Republic and attended Cal State Fullerton before being drafted by the White Sox in 1985. He played two professional seasons with the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals.

Felicidades, José!

Alfonso Soriano joins MLB: The Show 21

San Diego Studio held its first livestream in advance of the release of this year’s installment in the popular MLB: The Show video game franchise.

The livestream unveiled some new features coming to the annual baseball simulation title, including a new pitching style called pinpoint pitching, custom practice updates and other new changes.

Perhaps the biggest news was the unveiling of Alfonso Soriano as one of several new legends coming to the game.

Shown flashing his glove in a Yankees uniform, the Dominican slugger will be fully playable when the game launches on April 20. While the specifics of what kind of card Soriano will receive in Diamond Dynasty aren’t known, it stands to reason that he will get at least two, a low diamond Yankees card and a high diamond card based around his prime years split between Texas, Washington and Chicago.

En Social

If you’re curious about Ronald Acuña Jr.’s new haircut, allow the young slugger to explain himself.

En Historia

This weekend on March 13, Johan Santana will celebrate his 42nd birthday. The two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Minnesota Twins amassed 139 victories and a career 3.20 ERA to go along with 1,988 strikeouts across 12 MLB seasons spent with Minnesota and the New York Mets.

His career 45.6 WAR is not nearly enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, but Santana’s peak as one of the most feared pitchers in baseball during the mid 2000s is worth looking back on.

From 2004-2008, Santana put up a 2.82 ERA with 86 wins and 1,189 strikeouts to go along with his two Cy Young Awards, three All-Star Game nods, a Gold Glove award, MVP votes and additional Top-5 Cy Young Award finishes.

It can even be argued that Santana should have earned a third Cy Young Award when he finished third to Bartolo Colón in 2005. Colón had Santana beat in wins (21), but Santana had the lower ERA, more strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts. His snub is still being talked about over a decade later.

It’s unclear if a third Cy Young Award will have changed Santana’s Hall of Fame candidacy, but it sure would have made his case a lot more compelling.

Happy Birthday, Johan!

Our Gente

Kris Bryant’s ascent to stardom in baseball is one for the record books. A former high school player of the year award winner, college player of the year award winner, 2013 first-round MLB Draft pick, 2015 National League Rookie of the Year winner, 2016 NL MVP awardee and ’16 World Series champion in that order has struggled mightily to return back to that form in the years since.

Marquee Sports Network’s Andy Martínez has the latest on how Bryant aims to get back to that level.

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