Vladimir Guerrero Inducted To MLB Hall Of Fame

To Vladimir Guerrero, Now He's An MLB Hall-Of-Famer

With Vladimir Guerrero's recent induction as a part of the Class of 2018 into the Baseball Hall of Fame, I look back and reflect on the impact he had on my love for baseball.

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Dear Vladdy,

I might as well start off by saying that your induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame is well deserved after a great career as an Expo, Oriole, a Ranger and most importantly, an Angel. At least in my opinion.

So soccer was always big in my house. It still kind of is.

However, I always felt connected with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Even before I knew what baseball was.

Maybe it was because I was born in Anaheim or maybe it had to do with the fact that the Angels won the 2002 World Series on my third birthday. I wouldn't be able to tell you.

But I will tell you about how my passion for baseball grew.

I remember watching the games, whether it was with my grandpa at his house or watching it with my dad on the couch, I remember being fascinated with an outfielder from the Dominican Republic who wore my favorite number and would hit balls wherever they were. Yes, even the ones in the dirt that were almost impossible to hit.

Like many others, I was just amazed by your playing style, but I think what really grabbed my attention was your big smile.

Now, anyone who has ever seen you smile can honestly say that your smile is contagious. And also welcoming.

That smile welcomed a little girl into a whole different world that would soon capture her heart and attention.

I kept watching baseball in hopes of finding more guys like you. Not only did I find that, but I also ended up finding a lot more.

I found a whole new sport, new to me at least, that grabbed my attention. I found a true adoration for a team I always found myself rooting for. I found true love.

Your love for the sport of baseball radiated off of you. It could be seen in the smile you wore as you did what you loved. It was seen in the pride you had in yourself and the name on the front of your jersey. Even if it was your number on the back that quickly made me your favorite.

I probably cannot put into words how happy I was the day my mom brought me your jersey when I was in the 3rd grade. I was SO proud to have your jersey, even if it was in a girly pink. I was proud that your jersey was the first ever baseball jersey I had the honor of owning.

And trust me, I still have it. While it might fit a bit tight, I will still proudly wear it at any given time.

So I just want to tell you: thank you.

For being the first player to go in as an Angel into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For being a great person on and off the field.

And for teaching me what it's like to truly love and appreciate baseball.

Sincerely,

A proud Angels fan.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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