Que Onda: This weekend in Latino sports; Latinos top MLB Top 100
Welcome to Que Onda, all you need to know in Latino sports and culture today.
With Spring Training games not yet slated until Feb. 28, and football season in the books, you may be wondering what to watch.
Fortunately for you, Our Esquina has you covered for this weekend with some marquee events featuring Latinos. Here’s what you can look forward to:
Genesis Invitational rolls on
Today marks the second round of the annual Genesis Invitational held at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, and there are plenty of Latinos still in the running.
Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz are representing Mexico. Sebastian Muñoz hails from Bogota, Colombia, while fellow countryman Camilo Villegas is from Medellin. Meanwhile, Joaquin Niemann is from Chile and Emiliano Grillo is from Argentina. Don’t forget about Mexican-American Pat Perez either.
The Golf Channel will handle Friday’s coverage before splitting TV duties with CBS for Rounds 3-4.
Bad Bunny makes his SNL debut
For the first time in his young career, Bad Bunny will perform on Saturday Night Live.
There’s no doubt El Conejo Malo will have fans moving and grooving to his reggaeton hits, but there may be some other surprises in store.
In case you didn’t know, Bad Bunny was recently crowned WWE’s 24/7 champion when he won the title during this week’s Monday Night Raw taping.
As the title’s name implies, it can be challenged, defended, lost or won at any place and at any time. We already expect Bad Bunny to be carrying the title on the fellow NBC Universal program, but there’s a good chance some antics ensue and he’ll have to defend it midshow.
We already reported Bad Bunny’s potential WrestleMania involvement, so this weekend’s appearance on SNL could be the next evolution in generating hype.
SNL airs on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. PT.
Latinos headline Top Rank card
If you’re in the mood for some boxing, Miguel Berchelt will defend his WBC super-featherweight title against challenger Oscar Valdez in the main event of Top Rank Boxing’s card.
Both fighters were born in Mexico and will be picking up where they left off in December before COVID delayed their matchup.
Also fighting will be Mexican-American and Stockton native Gabriel Flores Jr., who will take on Puerto Rican Jayson Velez in a 10-round junior lightweight battle.
The card will take place live from the MGM Grand Conference Center with preliminary fights beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. ESPN + will handle streaming duties.
NASCAR enters Week Two
After an eventful Daytona 500, NASCAR is staying in Florida to run the Daytona International Speedway Road Course.
Latino Daniel Suarez, who finished 36th at Daytona, is slated to start at position No. 35 Sunday at 12:00 p.m. PT.
MLB Network rounds out Top 100
After nearly two weeks of reveals, MLB Network has concluded its annual Top 100 list with its reveal of the 10 best players in baseball right now.
In a shock to no one Mike Trout ranks as the best player in baseball, but four Latinos closely follow the Los Angeles Angels star to round out the list.
Juan Soto stands as the No. 5-ranked player in baseball, per MLB Network, with Fernando Tatís Jr., Ronald Acuña Jr. and teammate Anthony Rendon ranked No. 6-8, respectively.
In total, 31 Latinos make up the Top 100 in baseball.
Blake Snell won’t have to wait on a World Series rematch to take on the defending World Series champions this season.
The former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, who was traded to the San Diego Padres in the offseason, will get plenty of looks at the Los Angeles Dodgers this season.
ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez has a feature on the crafty lefty and his excitement to face the Dodgers and more.
Give it a read:
In honor of Brian Dozier retiring, please enjoy him jamming out with Pedro Capó and singing the hit song Calma, which became the unofficial anthem for the Washington Nationals’ 2019 World Series run.
Dozier, who is not Latino, told me during the NLCS that the song was a way for him to connect with his Latino teammates, who spoke majorly Spanish.
Asdrubal Cabrera, one of Dozier’s teammates, said that it meant a lot for someone like Dozier to connect with them.
This week in 1983, Fernando Valenzuela made history when at 22 years old he became the highest-paid Los Angeles Dodger, the highest-paid third-year player in baseball history and the first player to ever be awarded $1 million in arbitration.
Valenzuela, who pitched the previous season without a contract, successfully won his arbitration case against the Dodgers and its representative Bob Walker, who successfully won three other arbitration cases in the same offseason.
In the season prior, Valenzuela struck out 199 batters and had four shutouts with 18 complete games en route to a 19-13 record with a 2.87 ERA.
The numbers spoke for themselves, but Valenzuela had another element to his case. Attendance.
Per the Washington Post, Valenzuela claimed that attendance at Dodger Stadium increased by 5,000 each time he took the mound leading to a revenue boost between $30,000 and $40,000 per game. He also claimed a 4,000 attendance boost during away games in which the team took home 75 cents per ticket.
“Fernando is a player who comes along once in a lifetime,” Al Campanis was quoted saying. “Fernando is the answer to all our dreams and prayers.”
For thousands of fans in Los Angeles and beyond, Fernando Valenzuela was everything. Not only did he represent Mexico with the utmost class, but he backed it up with his pitching as well. A Rookie of the Year award winner and Cy Young winner in his first full major league season, Valenzuela was one of the best pitchers in baseball during the early part of his 17-year career.
He excited those around him and brought hope to many. This weekend, we celebrate El Toro for all he brought to this game.
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