Dave Martinez, General Manager of the Washington Nationals, a New Yorker whose parents came from Puerto Rico, enjoys the opportunity to represent the Island in the World Series. He told Puerto Rico news outlet El Nuevo Dia “Representing Puerto Rico and the whole family makes me happy.” His family in Puerto Rico is excited for him, too.
The Nationals lead the World Series 2-0 against the Houston Astros, another team with Puerto Rican representation. The third game of the series will be played tonight. Martinez’s Nationals will have the home team advantage.
Martinez is the second manager of Puerto Rican heritage to reach the World Series. Alex Cora was the first, and Martinez hopes to follow in his footsteps by winning the Series.
Before managing the Nationals, Martinez served as bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago Cubs. He also played for both teams during his 30-year career.
Martinez moved from New York to Florida with his family and attended college there before joining the Cubs.
One of the signs that Martinez is influencing the culture of the Nationals is the emergence of a Puerto Rican reggaeton song as the unofficial celebration anthem of the team.
“Calma” is the song the team sings and dances to in the clubhouse when they win. It’s a singable, danceable song, but The Washington Post reports that the song goes beyond a casual choice. Latino players brought it into the clubhouse, but the rest of the team picked it up in a show of solidarity.
“Videos showing players of many backgrounds — Dominican, Venezuelan, Cuban, North American — partying to the track have become so popular that the Nationals’ official social media accounts have been posting “Calma”-related content.”
“Lento y contento, cara al viento” (Slow and happy, facing the wind) may not be an obvious message to bring together a baseball team, but observers note that the Nationals, in their first shot at the World Series, are a relaxed and funloving team under Martinez.