George Steinbrenner will huff and puff about his huge payroll, but as the Angels showed last year, it's not always the money...and this year it was a lot of Latino heart and soul.
And no one personifies this Latino spirit more than the winning catcher and Marlins inspiration, "Pudge" Rodriguez (sorry, Texas Rangers fans).
I think Pudge earned his cool $10 mil.
There were, in fact, 18 Latino players in this year's World Series....five of them Venezuelan, including rookie (20-year old) sensation Miguel Cabrera and Game 4's superstar Alex Gonzalez, both of the Marlins.
I'm a loyal Dodger fan, so I approached this year's playoffs and Series with a little impartiality (even though I've been living in the Big Apple for more than a year). Game 6 could have gone either way, except that someone forgot to tell that to Josh Beckett. While my interest in baseball had been waning in the last few years, the fact that I attended my first World Series ever (Game 1 in NYC and Game 5 in Miami...both Marlins' victories) certainly woke me up...
But really, the fact that Latinos played a prominent role in the playoffs certainly intrigued me and a lot of other folks...whether it was the Cubs' Sosa, the Giants' Alou, the Red Sox' Pedro Martinez or Manny Ramirez, the Yankees' Mariano and Jorge Posada...
Major League Baseball has been losing some steam (and money) in the last few years, but maybe it should start looking less at $180 million payrolls, and more on the hearts and souls that simply adore the game....thanks, Pudge, Miguel, Alex....and Latino fans everywhere.