MLB

Cuban “Global Game” affords Eduardo and Tony Perez special moment

Think about this – I had to ask him in English and I only speak to him in Spanish. Having that conversation with my dad in English on national TV was really cool. I even reminded myself to say ‘Dad’ instead of ‘Papi’ because that’s what I usually call him when speaking to him.
– Eduardo Perez, on interviewing his father, Hall Of Famer Tony Perez, on Monday Night Baseball

ESPN continued its “Global Game” initiative this week on Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA by focusing on Cuba – the island country which has had, as ESPN MLB Insider Pedro Gomez says, a “glorious” impact on Major League Baseball.

The telecast included in-depth discussion about many of the legendary players, managers and coaches – past and present – from Cuba or of Cuban descent.

Gomez, who is also Cuban, was thrilled to participate in the telecast in Kansas City, where the Royals blanked the Detroit Tigers, 4-0.

“I have strong Cuban roots and to be able to tell stories my grandfather told me so many years ago, plus make a connection with viewers, made it such a personal event for me,” Gomez said. “I was incredibly honored. Just to recite the great names from Cuba’s glorious past with Major League Baseball gave me such a sense of pride.”

Perhaps the most outstanding moment during the telecast was the interview ESPN MLB analyst Eduardo Perez conducted with his father, Tony Perez – the only Cuban Baseball Hall-of-Famer.

Eduardo , also a former Major Leaguer and more recently a Houston Astros coach, discussed how unique the interview was for him.

“Think about this – I had to ask him in English and I only speak to him in Spanish,” said Perez. “Having that conversation with my dad in English on national TV was really cool. I even reminded myself to say ‘Dad’ instead of ‘Papi’ because that’s what I usually call him when speaking to him.”

Perez is still glowing about the experience.

“It’s an honor to share a moment like that with your father on national TV and to be able to ask questions that I believe are relevant and ones that are identifiable to fans,” Eduardo said.

In addition to honoring the legendary Cuban players, the telecast aimed to present a complete picture of the country’s culture and history.

Perez said, “It was more than just a three hour game to me. All of us –- Dave O’Brien, Pedro Gomez and Dallas Braden — wanted to make it special,” he said. “We talked about everything, including the political ramifications – we wanted to make sure we touched on that. I am fortunate I was born in the U.S. in Cincinnati and raised in Puerto Rico, but I’m 100 percent Cuban. I identify with all three flags in different way. I identify with the red, white and blue of the U.S. flag, the Puerto Rican flag and the Cuban flag. They have given baseball to all of us.”

Gianina Thompson contributed to this post.

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