MLB’s Ponle Acento Campaign Is a Step in a Right Direction

September 26, 2016 - accent chair

Adrian Gonzalez is a primary believer of a Ponle Acento campaign. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

Adrian Gonzalez is a primary believer of a Ponle Acento campaign. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

If you’re active on amicable media, that I’m going to assume we all are to some grade if you’re reading this piece, we might have beheld a new further to a normal red, blue, and white Major League Baseball logo.

acento-logoIn gripping with a new campaign, called “Ponle Acento,” MLB has taken a word to heart and put an accent on a possess logo, to inspire players and fans to do a same.

“Ponle Acento” is a elementary word for a elementary initiative. Plainly translated it means to “put a accent on it,” and that is what this new debate seeks to do; put accents and tildes on a backs of ball players’ jerseys and, subsequently, inspire others who write about a sport, in a infrequent or veteran manner, to do a same. It was a brainchild of LatinWorks, an Austin, Texas-based Latino promotion company, operative in and with MLB. The press recover announcing a debate remarkable that a thought is to “highlight a story and value of Latinos in MLB,” and that “Ponle Acento” is meant as “an moving call-to-action for Latinos to continue withdrawal their symbol on and off a margin in a communities.”

The debate done a dash behind in May when Dodgers initial baseman Adrián González, a primary supporter, common a print of his jersey with a accent and a tab #PonleAcento, and speedy teammate Enrique “Kiké” Hernández to get a accent on his possess jersey.

Roughly, that means that a customarily things blank after 16 years in a majors has been his accent mark. Hernández afterwards common a print of his own, newly accented jersey on both Twitter and Instagram and commented, bilingually, “…so now we entice all my Latino brothers to get their accent.” These photos helped to whirl a debate into internet relevancy early on in a season, yet things didn’t start to rigging adult until September.

Que bonito se ve Hernández criminal el acento! Ya lo tengo @adrian_eltitan, ahora invito a todos los latinos a que hagan lo mismo! #PonleAcento Look how flattering Hernández looks with a accent. we already got it @adrian_eltitan, so now we entice all my Latino brothers to get their accent. #PonleAcento

A print posted by Kiké Hernández (@kikehndez) on May 9, 2016 during 5:27pm PDT

Although Hispanic Heritage Month is nationally famous as durability from Sept. 15 by Oct. 15, to honour a duration when countless Latin American countries gained their independence, MLB instead devotes a whole month of Sep to honoring a impact of Latin American players in baseball. During this time there are customarily particular group celebrations, such as a Seattle Mariners’ “Salute to Latin American Beísbol Day” and a Kansas City Royals’ “Viva Los Royals Day,” as good as a vital league-wide day of observance to honour a memory of Roberto Clemente.

This year, on a heels of a new Jan process change that strictly compulsory all MLB teams to have a Spanish translator on their staff, MLB has increasing a impasse with Hispanic Heritage Month by bringing a “Ponle Acento” campaign to a core theatre of American baseball. This has many particularly enclosed a change in logo, yet has also featured countless teams donning special shirts during batting use with a accented trademark on a front and #PonleAcento on a back.

It seems like a flattering candid initiative, and it is. Innovations in elaboration machine now make adding diacritical outlines most easier and, for those who write about baseball, it requires customarily a crack of a wrist or dual quick keystrokes to “put a accent on it.” However, a participation of this debate itself carries measureless chronological significance, and is an vicious step toward a some-more on-going veteran sports culture.

Before we demeanour ahead, to cruise a impact a debate like this could have on a future, we contingency initial demeanour behind to know a stress of this debate in a initial place. Latin American players have certainly turn a vital partial of vital joining baseball, not to discuss a clever participation via a teenager leagues. As of 2016, according to a Major League Baseball Racial and Gender Report Card, Opening Day 25-man rosters enclosed 28.5 percent Latino players. There have even been, despite impossibly vague, conversations with Commissioner Rob Manfred about a further of an enlargement group in Mexico. The participation of Latinos in ball is distant from a new trend; when we demeanour during a beginning duration of ball in a United States there is roughly immediately a Latin American presence.

The origins of ball itself are a bit convoluted, and subsequently a bargain of baseball’s widespread via Latin America is rather churned adult as well. Shortly after a initial in a United States a diversion trafficked south and, due to geographical proximity, reached Cuba initial before expanding via a Caribbean and Latin America. Though there are no accurate dates to be found about a specific attainment of ball in Latin America, we do know that Cuba’s initial veteran joining was determined in 1878, reduction than a decade after a National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was shaped in a United States. The growth of veteran ball in a U.S. and in Latin America occurred roughly tangentially, and that abounding story has enabled Latin American countries to rise clever ball roots in their possess right. However, personification in “Los Mayores” continues to be a ultimate thought for many of those who grow adult outward of a U.S.

It is formidable to establish with certainty who a initial Latino to play veteran ball was, due to controversial birth certificates and census records. However, among tip Latino ball scholars such as Adrian Burgos Jr., there seems to be a accord that Esteban Bellán, a Cuban local from an chosen family, was a initial Latino to play ball professionally in a United States. Bellán played on a Rose Hill College varsity ball group in 1868, only as ball was apropos professionalized, was a member of a Troy Haymakers barnstorming group for dual years, afterwards returned to Cuba in 1872.

This information of ball in a nascent stages highlights only how intertwined veteran ball in a United States is with Latin America, and Latin American players. Baseball in America would not be what it is now yet a change of Latino players via story yet MLB, and a American media, have been painfully delayed in noticing their impact.

64858Examples of baseball’s disaster to honour and value these Latino players everywhere in both far-off and new history. For example, years ago, when sportswriters enclosed quotes from non-native English speakers they would mostly write them out phonetically, giving a sense that these group were unintelligent, or uneducated. More recently, it has turn approaching for sportswriters to purify adult a quotes of non-native English speakers, and reduction expressive local English speakers, yet what should have been a problem of a past persists.

As recently as May of this year Carlos Gómez, then-outfielder for a Houston Astros, was quoted in damaged English in a vicious square by a Houston Chronicle writer. Many were offended, including Gómez, who dismissed off a array of tweets to a writer. The Chronicle editor released a open apology.

Anglicized nicknames abound, mostly to make it easier for local English speakers to pronounce some-more severe Hispanic names; Esteban Bellán was referred to as “Steven” in news pieces, and Topps and O-Pee-Chee ball cards for Puerto Rican luminary Roberto Clemente referred to him as “Bob” or “Bobby.”

165058Even Clemente’s Hall of Fame plaque, a initial of a kind for a Latino ballplayer, was incorrect. The engraver incorrectly wrote his name “Roberto Walker Clemente” when, in gripping with Latin American tradition, a mother’s lass name should come during a end. This blunder was not accurate until 2000. Sometimes a insensitivity is reduction suble, as in 1961, when San Francisco Giants manager Alvin Dark attempted to demarcate his mostly Latino hall from vocalization Spanish.

More applicable to a new “Ponle Accento” campaign, it was not until some-more than a century had upheld given Bellán’s entrance that a initial diacritical symbol that uniform experts are wakeful of seemed on a vital joining player’s jersey. During that hundred-plus year duration few, if any, media members used a suitable diacritical outlines for players’ names. Anthony Salazar, a chair for a Society for American Baseball Research’s (SABR) Latino ball committee, noted, “The thought of adding accent outlines is two-fold: first, we are rightly pronouncing a player’s name, and secondly, we are building recognition to a culture’s unapproachable history. It’s my wish that #PonleAcento is carried into other areas, such as a newspapers’ sports pages and other media.” Salazar also remarkable that, in and with this campaign, “officials during Topps Company are now deliberation a thought of adding a accent outlines to ball actor cards, yet inner discussions are ongoing.”

Encouraging a further of these accents does not make adult for decades of indignity and prejudice, yet it is a vicious step brazen in recognizing, and appreciating, that ball is not simply only a North American sport. The “Ponle Acento” debate is a approach for MLB, and a players, to applaud a destiny and honour a story of Latinos in ball by withdrawal a earthy mark.

For MLB to make genuine swell with Commissioner Manfred’s avowed expostulate for increasing farrago in employing there has to be a indicate where farrago is not simply something concurred by top turn executives, yet is embraced by all levels via a leagues. The “Ponle Acento” beginning seems small, only a symbol on a jersey to many, yet in a context of story it stands unapproachable in antithesis to a pejoratively anglicized nicknames and phoneticized difference of a past.

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