When Athletics reliever Sergio Romo first put on the Mexico uniform to play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, he wasn’t sure how to define it.
“That’s quite the feeling,” Romo told NBC Sports California on Friday. “Seeing your name, your last name -- my parent’s last name -- my family’s last name, just understanding where, you know, where my family’s come from and to see it ‘there.’ ”
He chalked it up to being proud, but that appeared to be an understatement.
September is Hispanic Heritage Month, with MLB specifically making sure they celebrate the heritage that makes up a percentage of the league. Around 30 percent of active MLB rosters possess Latin talent. Romo says over the years, he has noticed the progression of representation of Latin players, but it started before he ever stepped foot on a big league mound.
“Yeah, in the minors, it’s -- there’s a lot more than, you know, most people know about,” Romo said. “But in the big leagues, you’re right -- it’s gone up a pretty decent amount.”
Romo said that growing up in the Giants organization he noticed there was more diversity “from the get-go” but knew that wasn’t the case across the board.
“We’re one of a little, small amount, so to speak, and it is what it is,” Romo explained. “I think the representation in terms of the Latinos in general, the names, the -- not just the talent, but the production in which they’re you know, providing the entertainment and the fun that you know a lot of, especially younger Latinos.”
Romo also noticed the representation is stretching beyond what the players are doing on the field.
“The most impressive part is where a lot of my fellow Latinos are getting recognized for, you know, their contributions off the field, in their countries and also in their neighborhoods and communities in which they’ve established their careers,” Romo said.
“There’s plenty more of those men out there, but also those Latinos are kind of getting a pat on the back a little bit more than that, rightfully deserved, I feel.”
Romo would joke he was born in the United States, but “with Mexican parts,” which he said made him feel that parts of his background were taken away from him for that exact reason.
The 14-year MLB reliever shows off his roots with a tattooed piece on his back. It’s one that begins as a US flag and it ripples into the Mexican flag. Amazingly, he had it done in one five-hour appointment.
“It’s kind of how I’ve always really seen myself, and proud to say it, so it’s there,” Romo said. “It’s a pride that I have, it’s a fire, it’s a passion too there, and it’s honest -- I really believe that it’s solely there just because of the blood that flows through me and my heritage and my background. I think it’s just solely there because of that -- who we are.”