US Donald Trump’s policies and remarks about immigrants "have not affected" Latino players in the Major Leagues, said former Panamanian leagues Bruce Chen, who estimates that soon 50% of the players in the big leagues Tent will be Latino.
Chen, coordinator for Latin America of the Los Angeles Dodgers, traveled to Panama to head Sunday a tribute to the press of his country with the first Solo Journalists Confraternity tournament, at the luxurious sports complex MVP that the player has raised on the outskirts of Panama City because "they deserve it," he said.
Asked about the effects of Trump's policies and anti-immigrant speech, the player said that "right now it has not affected baseball in Latin America."
"I really know that due to problems that have arisen with Venezuela, some of the countries have been requesting more documents, visa for Venezuelan players," he added.
He said that in the Dodgers "right now we have Venezuelan 'couches' that find it difficult to get a visa and renew their passports, but it has nothing to do with what is happening in the United States, but with what is happening in Latin America."
Accustomed to looking at the region as a recruiter, Chen believes that "there is a very good possibility to continue signing and that there will be very good Latin American players in the Major Leagues", and therefore his projection is that "in the future we will have 50% of Latino Major League players."
Concerning his colleagues and country fellows, he stressed that "we are trying to do a good job" and the expectation is that his fellow countryman Carlos "Calicho" Ruíz "can enter the professional baseball of the United States again."
"Calicho" has played in Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Seattle Mariners, and this season he defends the colors of the province of Chiriquí, finalist of the Major League Baseball tournament in Panama.
Left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen played for 17 years for the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets, the Montreal Expos, the Cincinnati Reds, the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, the Texas Rangers, the Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians.
"Venezuela is having a good boom in players, as well as Mexico. These are the countries that are well. Puerto Rico has been very well represented lately, obviously in the World Classic in the Major Leagues, with Francisco Lindor, Javier Báez and Carlos Correa. There are very good players, "he said.
On the construction of the sport city MVO, for more than 5 million dollars, Chen said as "passionate about sports (...) we want to invest in the future, in childhood, in Panama, because that's what helped me in sports".
"Sports gave me perseverance, discipline, devotion, respect, responsibility; all those values were formed through sports. We want to do it through Panamanian children," he said.
The modern facilities, on five hectares of land, were made in alliances with "Major League Baseball" and its various associations, "with its similar Dominican Republic, other academies in the US, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico that are also doing things just as we are doing to help," he said.
"We are also affiliating with the baseball association of US schools so that the trainers can come to observe the different athletes we have and achieve a sports scholarship", and with the federations and the Panamanian Sports Institute (Pandeportes), said the former player, who dismissed any political aspiration.
MVP can receive up to 3,000 people, has trainers for baseball, soccer, "we are going to bring in tennis, in basketball and we want to help and train other instructors, because as the level increases in all those sports, the level of the athletes we have in Panama increases".
Luis Miguel Blanco