Jose Altuve’s Heroics Seal Astros ALCS Win, Set Up Epic World Series vs. Nats
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Jose Altuve's teammates hold him up high as they celebrate the Astro's victory

HOUSTON — In the eye of the swirling storm around them, there was calm. There always is. Two outs from punching their World Series ticket, the Houston Astros had just taken a punch. To lesser teams, it might have been a knockout blow.

DJ LeMahieu had just drilled a two-run homer, the desperate New York Yankees saw a crack of light, and now they were pushing to muscle their way in.

Tied game, bottom of the ninth, two out, and New York closer Aroldis Chapman breathing dragon fire and spitting 100 mph sliders. But he had made a mistake: He had lost George Springer. He had jumped ahead in the count with a strike-one slider, but then he couldn’t locate the plate. He had delivered four consecutive balls.

In the Houston dugout, two outfielders sat together, Josh Reddick and Michael Brantley. It was Brantley who had helped position the Astros for this moment two innings earlier, with a full-on diving catch in left field before scrambling to his feet and throwing a one-hop pea to double off Aaron Judge at first base and end the seventh with a fabulously artful and incredibly rare 7-3 double play.

Now the sea of orange was deafening in Minute Maid Park and Jose Altuve was at the plate and Reddick watched Chapman deliver ball one, and then ball two. It was then, 2 and 0 count, Chapman having thrown six consecutive balls, that Reddick calmly leaned over and declared to Brantley, “Josie’s going to win this game right here for us.”

On the mound, Chapman threw his first strike in seven offerings, a slider that sailed by Altuve for a called strike.

And then he threw another, this one 83 mph and high in the zone, and in a flash, Altuve unleashed a quick, violent swing that sent a laser into the night.

The ball’s landing was the anticlimactic part. By then, everyone knew this one was over and the Astros had slayed the Yankees. Again, for the second time in three seasons in this ballpark, this time 6-4 in a Game 6 that started slowly and then veered toward classic.

“He’s one of the best,” Springer was saying moments later, soaked with champagne, standing on the field amid family and the warm embrace of a city that cannot get enough of these Astros. “I know right there I have to do anything I can to get to first base, and I was able to.

“He can do special things. There’s nothing he can’t do. Incredible moment. Incredible swing. Unbelievable.”

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Decrying Racism, Fans Pushed For Years To Get Latino NFL Pioneer Tom Flores In Hall Of Fame
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tom flores wearing a tuxedo

For years, Tom Flores — the first Latino pro football quarterback and head coach — doubted he would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But his fans were sure he’d earned the honor and helped get him there.

Flores, 83, who is Mexican American, was elected to the Hall of Fame this weekend, a recognition that many fans had been saying he was due years ago.

“Congratulations to Sanger Alumni Tom Flores. It’s about darn time,” said a comment on a Twitter account dedicated to the Sanger Union High School Apaches in California. Flores attended the high school, where the football stadium is named after him.

Flores was the first Latino starting quarterback in pro football when he played for the Oakland Raiders in the American Football League in 1960. He went to the fourth Super Bowl in 1970 as backup quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.

He was an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders when they won Super Bowl 11 after the 1976 season, and he was the head coach when the Raiders won Super Bowl 15 after the 1980 season and when the Los Angeles Raiders won Super Bowl 18 after the 1983 season. All as a coach and a player were firsts for a Latino.

He and Mike Ditka are the only men to have won Super Bowls as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach.

Even so, Flores often wasn’t nominated for the Hall of Fame, or he got only as far as semifinalist, a fact not lost on him; Flores mentioned his disappointment at being passed over in interviews in recent years.

Flores’ absence from the hall was seen as a major omission by his fans, Latinos and other sports figures, given his barrier breaking in football. Some publicly called it out as “racism.”

Continue to the original article at NBC News.
LULAC Remembers Diego Maradona, Latino Soccer Star
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Diego Maradona on the soccer playing field kicking the ball with other players

Nation’s Leading Latino Civil Rights Organization Says the Argentinian D10S Inspired Millions Worldwide

Washington, D.C. – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened that one of sport’s greatest stars has died following brain surgery a week ago. Diego Maradona will be remembered for transfixing soccer enthusiasts with his superhuman talent and athletic feats. LULAC has always encouraged young Latinos, men and women alike, to emulate positive aspects in the lives of their sports heroes who inspire them to achieve more in their own future. Maradona, the mere name of this player, ignited that spirit in young people and the young at heart around the world.

At this time when nations everywhere are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, may we pause and remember the heart with which Maradona played, often against seemingly insurmountable opponents. One of the highlights for which he will be forever celebrated was the match in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup against England in which the ball ricocheted off his raised fist into the head of a player from the opposing team and flew into the net to score the decisive goal. He would later describe the incident as, “The Hand of God”. His performances on the field is worthy of a final ovation. May we raise our voices today and scream in unison GOL in his honor one final time. Que descanse en paz, el gran Pibe de Oro.”

About LULAC
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez on being a Latina trailblazer — and healing from abuse
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Laurie Hernandez doing gymnastics

Gymnast Laurie Hernandez’s living room is decorated with many photographs. But two are the most special—one shows her parents praying before her performance at the 2016 Olympics and the other is of them hugging her afterwards.

“I love those photos,” Hernandez told NBC News. “Going to the Olympics, competing and then looking into the crowd and seeing my parents, that was one of the sweetest things I could possibly ever have witnessed…It’s just a big reminder as to how much support my parents have given me in all of this.”

Her Puerto Rican parents, Wanda and Anthony Hernandez, were watching their then-teenage daughter make history as the first Latina gymnast to represent the United States at the Olympics since 2004 — while also bringing home some medals. Hernandez won silver on the balance beam and gold on the team event alongside fellow USA gymnasts, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, and Madison Kocian.

“There was so much representation, from Black women to white women, a Hispanic girl, so I think that was a really important thing for just the globe to see,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said her fans will learn more about how she trains during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as “how I was raised and who my parents are” in the new Peacock Original documentary series “True Colors,” starring her and other Hispanic trailblazers, such as the actor Mario Lopez, the former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others.

“You’ll be able to get a really good feel as to why I am the way I am and why my siblings are the way we are,” Hernandez, who’s currently training for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, said. “It’s been, definitely, a crazy ride. I’m only 20 and I feel like I’ve lived three lives already.”

Hernandez remembers being very passionate about the sport since a very young age. When she was still just a little girl training in New Jersey, she looked at her parents and said: “Hey, like I want to go to the Olympics. … I have all these crazy dreams.”

“They could have very easily been like, ‘You’re a child. You came out of the womb nine years ago, maybe let’s try something else.’ But they didn’t. Instead, they hit me with the ‘well, if this is what you want, then how can we help you?'” Hernandez recalled.

At the 2016 Olympics, her parents were praying “that I don’t wipe out,” while competing, she said.

“I didn’t realize it until after Rio. We had all sat down away from cameras and talked about it. And they were like, we really questioned if we were being good parents by letting you stay in it because you’re getting hurt over and over again, which is part of the sport,” Hernandez said. “But after getting surgery in 2014, they saw how determined I was and they were like, ‘OK, we can’t pull that away from her.'”

Continue to Today.com to read the full article. 

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