Nuestro compromiso, our commitment
For Latinos, our shared pastime wasn’t America’s game, but the Americas’ game.
With Cubans as the “apostles of baseball” spreading the game throughout the Caribbean in the 1870s and 1880s, Latinos developed a unique story in U.S. baseball history. Unlike European immigrants, who came to embrace baseball as America’s game as part of their assimilation, when Latinos — especially those from the Caribbean Basin – migrated, they came with baseball already in their blood.
Today, the Latino presence in baseball is significant. Over a quarter of MLB players come from Latin America; another significant number with Latino ancestry are born in the U.S.
But the vibrant role fans play in the game is crucial, too. Their spirit is seen in Havana’s La Esquina Caliente, or Hot Corner, the city plaza where fans gather daily to debate each other about their favorite stars and teams. Or in Mexico, where you’ll eat tacos al pastor, hear mariachi bands and see fans sporting colorful lucha libre masks.
In Puerto Rico, there are fewer horns and more percussion. The Dominicans prefer merengue and serve empanadas. Everything is spontaneous and seemingly disorganized, set to soaring riffs into the night.
The spirit of community is something we’ll capture at La Vida, from music to food to life just off the field. We will do much more than cite historical facts and numbers. We will tell stories about the culture of Latinos and baseball with passion, style and spirit.
We won’t swing for the fences or blow heat past our readers every time. Rather, in the tradition of El Tiante or Johnny Cueto, we’ll come at you from all angles in audio, video and articles that pair history with current culture.
We’ll be experimental more than encyclopedic. The four pillars on the banner across the home page sum up what you can expect from us: Who’s Now, Who’s Next, Legends and Our Life. Throughout, we’ll talk about the players’ heroes, their journeys, their favorite food, music and entertainment and, always, about their history.
Nuestro equipo, our team
Adrian Burgos, Jr.
Adrian Burgos, Jr., is a Professor of History at the University of Illinois, specializing in US Latino history, sport history, and urban history. He holds a PhD from University of Michigan (2000) and a BA from Vassar College (1993). He is the author of Cuban Star: How One Negro League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball (Hill & Wang, 2011) and Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line (University of California Press, 2007), which won the Latina/o Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association and was a Seymour Medal finalist from the Society of American Baseball Research.
His scholarly writings have appeared in the Journal of American History, Journal of American Ethnic History, and Social Text, among others. He has been a contributor to sportingnews.com and has written for MLB.com and other electronic and print outlets.
The subject of a 2016 Big Ten Network documentary Playing America’s Game, he has appeared on ESPN, MLB Network, and NPR, as well as national and local programs discussing Latinos, baseball, and race. He has also served as a consultant on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Viva Baseball exhibit, the Smithsonian’s Latinos and Baseball exhibit, and as a program advisor for numerous documentaries, including Bernardo Ruiz’s Roberto Clemente and Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning and Jackie Robinson.
Clemson Smith Muñiz
Clemson Smith Muñiz’s wide-ranging career in sports media touches all bases, a switch-hitter comfortable in two languages.
As Executive Editor of La Vida Baseball, he returns to his baseball roots. Raised in Puerto Rico, he was weaned on Winter League play, watching a young Mike Schmidt and the veteran Félix Millán play for his favorite team, the Caguas Criollos, while hearing his uncle Héctor Rafael Vázquez broadcast the games on radio.
His first sport beat was covering the New York Yankees for the Hartford Courant. He wrote sidebars on the Yankees and Mets at the New York Daily News, broadcast the 1993 World Series in Spanish for ESPN International and edited magazines such as MLB en español and Béisbol Mundial. He was the first to broadcast los Yankees, los Mets and los Tigers en español on TV.
Besides writing a weekly column and supervising editorial content for La Vida, Clemson starts his ninth season as the Spanish-language play-by-play voice of MLB Network’s Showcase broadcasts.
Clemson brings a charismatic voice that challenges convention to La Vida Baseball. He is based in Chicago after 34 years in New York City.
Digital/Social Media Editor
A California native, Henry Pacheco has more than six years of Latino media experience in the areas of social media, editorial and video production. His work has been read and enjoyed by first-, second- and third-generation Latinos in the United States. He launched two Latino-based websites in 2014: thebigtino.com and theflama.com, a Univision-owned website. Most recently, he was the Associate Editor at Flama.
Henry graduated from UCLA and upon graduation, he worked in product development for Disney Consumer Products, managed social media for the Weinstein Company and specialized in video production at Runway Passport.
Henry lived in Brooklyn, NY for four years before making a jump to Chicago. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, his favorite sports are soccer (Real Madrid) and baseball (San Francisco Giants).
His passions are to elevate the voice of the Latino community in sports. La Vida Baseball is giving him the opportunity to tell those stories.
Managing Director of Development
Born and raised outside Chicago, Tab Bamford has a decade of experience in social media sports media. He has directed and executed social media for a national financial institution, managed content for Bleacher Report and the Big Ten Network and writes for Choose Chicago, ChicagoNow and The Fourth Period Magazine.
Tab graduate from Taylor University and is the author of 100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, which is currently in its third edition. He also launched and owns an award-winning Chicago Blackhawks blog.
He lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife, Kristin, and three sons: Matthew, Bobby and Ian.
Nuestros compañeros, Our partners
La Vida Baseball is a new digital media platform that celebrates the passion of Latino baseball’s past, present and future through original video, written and social content.
La Vida Baseball is a property of a Teamworks Media, produced in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
TeamWorks Media is a content marketing firm known for emotionally engaging storytelling that inspires social impact through sports.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent nonprofit educational institution, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime.
La Vida Baseball will bring the Hall of Fame’s sights, sounds and stories to an audience well beyond Cooperstown through short- and long-form storytelling, providing an important perspective on what makes baseball an integral part of the Latino experience.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Tab Bamford, Managing Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.