A long time ago, I remember that when I was going to write my annual column of the Boricuas in spring training, the list used to be a very long one.
It was not only quantity, but also quality.
They used to take a few pages. Most teams had at least one Puerto Rican on their 40-man roster, and most of them at the end of March were ready for the majors.
That was in the '90s. Not anymore. This is 2010.
As spring training is just starting in Arizona and Florida, every baseball fan is abuzz over what's to come in 2010.
In Dominican Republic—land of the Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez superstars of the world—most of their baseball followers are already cheering about their 197 quisqueyanos in the not so warm climate these days in the nation.
In Venezuela, they are counting on most of their 137 names making it to the bigs this year.
Of course, such names as Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, and Magglio Ordoñez are assured of their positions. However, they are waiting for other newcomers from their backyard to make it good this year.
Last year, I wrote a column called "Boricuas, Where Are You?" Unfortunately, sadly, and downheartedly, the title still pertains to this 2010 season.
In Puerto Rico, fans rave about Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Alomar, and Edgar Martinez. They rant and honor their national teams from the Olympic level to the one that compete every four years in the World Baseball Classic. What is happening?
For the country that stopped to watch Yadier Molina start in the All-Star Game, and where most baseball fans became Yankee fans just to follow Jorge Posada in last year's World Series, there definitely something unexplainable happening.
The island is more worried nowadays about whether Carlos Delgado, Felipe Lopez, Kiko Calero, and Jose Molina will find major league jobs rather than the national unemployment news—if Carlos Beltran will be back healthy and if Mike Lowell will continue be a Red Sox, Then again, where is the talent going, or if the youth is really into baseball, where are they?
Most names probably as a fan you will recognize, but the list is short compared to ones of two decades ago.
This 2010 season, this is the list of Puerto Rican players at spring training this year. The list includes 40-man roster players and non-roster invitees.
Baltimore Orioles: IF Roberto Andino, OF Luis Montañez, 2B Miguel Abreu
Boston Red Sox: 3B Mike Lowell, P Fernando Cabrera, SS Angel Sanchez
Chicago White Sox: C Ramon Castro, OF Alexis Rios, P Saul Rivera
Kansas City Royals: 2B Mike Aviles, OF David DeJesus
Los Angeles Angels: P Joel Piñeiro
Minnesota Twins: C Jose Morales
New York Yankees: P Jonathan Albaladejo, P Javier Vazquez, C Jorge Posada, C Mike Rivera
Seattle Mariners: P Ian Snell
Toronto Blue Jays: DH Randy Ruiz
Atlanta Braves: C Orlando Mercado
Chicago Cubs: C Geovany Soto
Florida Marlins: SS Osvaldo Martinez, OF Mike Stanton
Houston Astros: SS Edwin Maysonet
Los Angeles Dodgers: SS Ivan DeJesus Jr.
Milwaukee Brewers: C Martin Maldonado
New York Mets: P Pedro Feliciano, P Nelson Figueroa, C Omir Santos, IF Alex Cora, OF Carlos Beltran, OF Angel Pagan, OF Jesus Feliciano
Philadelphia Phillies: P J.C. Romero
Pittsburgh Pirates: 3B Ramon Vazquez
St. Louis Cardinals: C Yadier Molina, 3B Ruben Gotay
San Francisco Giants: C Bengie Molina
Washington Nationals: C Ivan Rodriguez, P Luis Atilano, C Wil Nieves