Scottsdale AZ: I must admit that this Spring Training trip to Arizona has been one of the most rewarding trips I have taken. The reason is that this trip has been specifically organized to award players who unfortunately could not get their awards last season due to the issue of the pandemic and logistics. And we also wanted to interview players who were on the ballot for the 2021 awards. This experience has been quite rewarding.
As a former Social Studies teacher and adjunct professor of American History I enjoy speaking to anyone who wants to learn a bit about history and in this case the history of the LatinoMVP awards. Every player that I have awarded and every player that I have had the opportunity to interview on being on the ballot has been given a history of the award and this has been a rewarding experience for both. None of the players knew about the award and learning the history they were more appreciative of it and being on the ballot. Though the award is now celebrating its 32nd anniversary few players, or clubs knew of the award. In the past, we have tried to inform every player and team who has won an award or makes it to the ballot. Unfortunately, for whatever reason the information did not seem to trickle down to those who need to know.
However, that is the past and today with MLB’s sponsorship our trip to Spring Training has changed for the better.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to sit down and talk to Carlos Rodón a former White Sox pitcher who is on the ballot for the 2021 AL LatinoMVP Pitcher award. His record with the White Sox for 2021 was 13 Wins 5 Losses a 2.37 ERA. He had 185 Ko’s and 36 walks. When we met in the Clubhouse we walked outside, away from the Clubhouse music where he invited me to sit on the sofa furniture and talk. Unlike the other past interviews, standing outside, or in the Clubhouse this interview with Carlos Rodón was more like chilling with a homeboy. It was relaxing and we were able to speak openly, comfortably and laugh a lot. The interview was conducted in English as we were both English dominant. We spoke about that a bit and I confessed that I could not speak Spanish and only started learning after the age of sixteen. He asked where I was born, I told him, Puerto Rico and raised in the South Bronx. He confessed that he wanted to learn more Spanish. I gave him some pointers.
Rodón was happy to hear about the LatinoMVP award and expressed the following in a very comfortable and open interview.
Regarding learning that he is on the ballot. He stated, “I did not know about the award and it’s an honor. I know the Latin American community is a very proud community. I’m Cuban, Cuban American. My dad was born in Cuba, my mom is Cuban American. Not many people know that I’m Hispanic, Like I said it’s an honor.” He then laughed and said, “I’m glad you guys recognized the name, and said that name must be Cuban, or something.”
About the award, he answered the following: “Baseball is kind of a melting pot with a lot of Hispanic, Latino super stars throughout the league. Seems that they, (he corrected) “we” I have to lump myself in there (he confessed), sometimes I don’t think that way. But yes, “we” have become very prominent which is great because the game has gone global”. He continued, “It’s fun cause these guys bring a different kind of flavor, a little spark to the game, a little pride, some fire and I think fans like that, it’s fun to watch”. He concluded, “ I think it’s (the award) needed, there are a lot of us in this game now, I thank you guys.
It was a sincere pleasure speaking to Carlos Rodón and we wish him the best as we believe we will be writing more on this young pitcher who is proud of his Cuban American, Latino heritage.
Additional information on Carlos:
Carlos Antonio Rodón was born December 10, 1992, in Miami, Florida. He is a professional pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. He previously played for the Chicago White Sox. On April 14, 2021, Rodón pitched the 20th no-hitter in White Sox history Vs. the Cleveland Indians.
Rodón was first drafted out of High School by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. However, he decided not to sign to attend North Carolina State University.
The White Sox selected Rodón in the first round, third overall, in the 2014 Major League draft.
This will be the first season with the Giants after signing a two-year $44 million contract.
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