Jennifer Mercedes reflects on making it at La Vida Baseball

I’ve made it. You hear baseball players talk about it all the time when they get pulled up from the minors to the big leagues.

But what about the rest of us? Have you ever had a moment that made you think, “I belong. I’m in the big leagues?”

Looking back at the 2019 season, I feel very proud of the work we’ve done here at La Vida Baseball. Over the course of only a few months, I conducted more than 40 interviews. A lot of it is just a blur at this point, but there are a few that stand out, and a couple that I will always remember.

Just about a week into my first year with La Vida Baseball, the Cleveland Indians were in town to play the White Sox. I made sure to reach out to Carlos Santana so that we could schedule an interview with him.

That afternoon, I walked into the clubhouse, let him know we were ready whenever he was. As we walked to the field and toward our set, the first words out of Santana’s mouth were, “Wow, this is where we’re at now?”

Until this point, whenever I conducted my interviews, it was usually, in the words of Beyoncé, me, myself, and I. One camera, one mic.

This time around, with La Vida Baseball, I had a team, an actual set up, two chairs, lights, cameras (plural), the works.

Teamwork key

Santana, was happy for me. He was proud. He said as much toward the end of our conversation, and it was something that I truly appreciated.
Sometimes you go about your business, putting in the work, hoping your work is valued and appreciated.

You never wonder if the players care, but his was one of many instances that proved these guys are watching.

They pay attention, and they appreciate your grind and hustle. Any Spanish language journalist will tell you, the Latino players and Latinx media have a different type of relationship. We’re family.
For me, family is everything. It’s usually how Latinx people connect. This year allowed me to have conversations with players that I had never really had before.

From Yuli Gurriel telling me about the role his mother played in his baseball career, throwing him grounders, as well as going into detail about where his mind was during that fateful day in the Dominican Republic when he and his brother Lourdes Gurriel Jr. defected from the Cuban National Team during the Caribbean Series.

Romo was enlightening

Or my 30-minute conversation with Twins pitcher Sergio Romo, whom I had never interviewed before, but now he has a fan for life, in me. We discussed his Mexican-American roots and his many tattoos and their meanings.

The guy is just a fun guy, or as his Twitter bio says, “reliever of all that is dull and boring in life.”

As I sit here writing this, that moment with Santana got me thinking about some of those other moments, whether it be a spontaneous hug from the Boomstick, Nelson Cruz, or a “Let me know, whatever you need, I got you” from numerous players.

You know who you are. As humans, we all want to be seen. Well, they saw me, and I hadn’t even realized it.