An Open Letter to The Boston Globe: Where Are the Latino Red Sox Fans?

Originally published at JulioRVarela.com

Yesterday morning, after my early-morning soccer game, I sat down for breakfast, eager to read my Sunday Boston Globe, a ritual of mine since 1986. Like most Sundays before, I was not disappointed. However, one section, which featured essays from notable Bostonians about the Red Sox’s World Series victory, did leave me a bit perplexed.

CREDIT: WCVB

CREDIT: WCVB

So I tweeted about it:

And also posted my thoughts on my Facebook wall:

“So The Boston Globe ran several opinion pieces about the #RedSox today, about 8 of them, and it was really surprising to not see at least on Latino voice at all, especially since most iconic guy on your team is flipping Big Papi. Ugh.”

(Full disclosure: I occasionally contribute freelance opinion essays to the Globe, and the Globe was my first “real job” ever in 1989.)

A few hours later, I got the following tagged post from my friend, José Massó, a Boston radio legend.

My open letter to the Boston Globe:

It took some time before I read today’s paper…I was out last night celebrating “Steppin’ Out 2013” with Divina, dancing to the music of Manolo Mairena & Curubande and stayed up listening to “¡Con Salsa!”…and with the whole turning back the clock an hour I didn’t get to it until this evening.

I finally read it after noticing a post on Facebook from my friend Julio Ricardo Varela mentioning that eight essays and a poem had been written by New England notables on what the World Series victory by the Red Sox means to them and the region. He noted that none of the essays were written by a Latino voice even though the player that is Boston right now is David Ortiz, the pride and joy of every Dominican and Latino living in Massachusetts and beyond. Ironic, since seven of the eight essays that I read mention Big Papi in addition to the poem’s liberal use of his quote for eternity “this is our f***ing city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom”.

I read Bill Littlefield’s piece first since he is my ‘BUR colleague and we talk about baseball, sports and other matters whenever I’m at the station. At least ‘BUR was smart enough to feature the voice of our friend Héctor Piña the day after the Sox clinched the series commenting on how David Ortiz evokes Dominican pride in Boston. The closest to touching on this was the piece by Gish Jen…but I wondered what would have Junot Díaz written and was he asked to contribute his voice to the “Boston celebration” by the Globe. I’m sure that a Pulitzer Prize winner, professor at MIT and 2012 MacArthur Fellow (also known as a MacArthur genius) would have something to contribute. No need for me to mention that he’s Dominican and if he wasn’t available, as David González suggested on Julio’s Facebook page, a poem by Martín Espada would have been nice…after all he authored “The Trouble Ball” about his father’s experience in 1941 when he went to Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field as an 11 year old for a game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals hoping to see the legendary Satchel Paige pitch, only to learn that Blacks were not allowed to play major league baseball.

I would have enjoyed reading Marcela García’s take on all of this celebration…she’s done an excellent job as an op-ed writer for the Globe and as a guest along with Julio on ‘GBH radio in addition to what she has written for the Boston Business Journal.

Another friend of ours, Alberto Vasallo III, was on the field last Wednesday night and has been covering the Red Sox for several years in addition to his annual celebration of Latino Youth events at Fenway Park. He knows David very well and I would have enjoyed reading an essay by him in the Globe today. Maybe he would have mentioned that Carlos Beltrán won the coveted Roberto Clemente Award this year and that Big Papi won it in 2011. It’s an award that is given annually to a Major League player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”.

In closing, I give you the benefit of the doubt but I could go on to name others, and suffice to say…this is our “effing city too” and maybe, just maybe, under the new ownership of the Globe it will be reflected every time we celebrate the positive.

But hey, we’re “Boston Strong”.

With warm regards,

José Massó

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. In the past year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times. Currently, he is a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. The views expressed in any of the columns writte by Julito on this page do not reflect the editorial stance of Latino Rebels or Al Jazeera America. His opinions are his own and his alone.

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