Queens, NY: A month after the 2019 season the mechanism for selecting the prestigious LatinoMVP winners for the baseball season began. The process is quite simple with members of the Latino Sports Writers & Broadcasters Association (LSWBA) submitting names of the players they believe should be on the ballot for the 2019 season. They are encouraged to submit no more than three names for the following positions in each league. LatinoMVP, LatinoMVP Pitcher, LatinoMVP Reliever/Closer and LatinoMVP Rookie.
Once we received the names for the ballot a controversy developed when some members of the association were questioning why NY Mets first baseman, Pete Alonso was nominated and on the list for National League Rookie. In the twenty-nine years of the award prior to 2019 we had never had a non-Caribbean, or candidate from any country outside of Latin America. Pete Alonso some argued should not be on the ballot because he was not from Latin America or had heritage in any Latin American country. Others argued that since his grandfather was a Spaniard, born in Spain he qualified as Spain in considered by many in Latin America as “La Madre Patria,” (motherland).
The debate dragged on for a few weeks and getting closer to our deadline to submit the ballot for voting on all the positions forced a final vote to allow Pete Alonso’s name to remain on the ballot. Those proposition to allow Pete Alonso’s name to remain on the ballot passed by two votes. History was made on two counts, Alonso was the first non-Latino born, or with roots in Latin America to be on the LatinoMVP ballot and he became the first winner when he was voted the National League LatinoMVP Rookie of the year.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with Pete Alonso and chided him on being the reason for the first controversy in the LSWBA’s history. Pete defended himself and proudly said, “I’m Latino.” We laughed when I told him about his Spanish and how we could teach him a few words like “Yo me llamo” and he immediately replied, “my name is.” We are very proud that today we are celebrating our 32nd LatinoMVP awards and that the 2019 Pete Alonso controversy helped us grow. award
Pete spoke to us about winning the LatinoMVP award.
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