Even Without Amezaga, the Marlins Are the Most Mexican Team in the Majors

You're forgiven if you didn't catch the news that Marlins utility man Alfredo Amezaga will miss the rest of the baseball season to undergo knee surgery. Amezaga is scrappy and versatile, the type of player that can be the glue that holds a team together through the grind of 162 games. But he's no star.

That said, when we heard he was done, Riptide -- OK, I won't implicate the whole office in this -- I mourned, and for more than the loss of his stellar glove. If he had made it back this season, he would've officially given the Marlins run-away status for the most Mexican-active roster in the Major Leagues. I'd been closely watching Amezaga's injury since the team picked up former Twins reliever Luis Ayala, a product of Los Mochis, Mexico. The Marlins already had Mexican-American first baseman Jorge Cantu, arguably the most famous current Major Leaguer of Mexican descent (Adrian Gonzalez boosters, don't you have somewhere to be?).

Of course, nationality shouldn't matter. But this is a point of pride for me. Mexicans love baseball, but we are even worse at it than soccer, which we also love. We haven't gotten anywhere near the finals in the two World Baseball Classics, and even lost to the Australian national team this year. Don't they play cricket? And, Fernandomania! aside, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have been severely under-represented in the highest professional league -- only 109 have made the bigs. The current stats reflect an even more sparse population -- there are only 13 Mexicans in the Major Leagues today. That's about half the Japanese contingent, and oh, 1/20th of the current number of players from the villainous Dominican Republic, an island with less than a tenth of the population of Mexico.

So yeah, I was looking forward to the re-activation of the Third Amigo. But that's cool -- even without Amezaga, the Marlins are still firmly in the Major League lead for Highest Overall Active Mexican-ness; shockingly, no other team has multiple Mexicans. Still, I'm hoping we resign Ayala and that Amezaga comes back healthy before next season, and so I'm storing this giant baseball-shaped piñata under my desk until 2010.

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