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It's the passion, the love we have for the game. I have met lots of prejudice, but I have also met lots of nice people, great people. Gómez: Playing baseball in the United States is a challenge and a dream.
Every American who has the opportunity to go play in our country realizes how we play ball and values it. If you beat me, you struck me out -- celebrate, you won! We play ball in this country, our names are in the American papers, and we become well-known to many Americans, but though we are in this country, we are not a part of this country. Sometimes you feel [like an outsider] because you find people who treat you as if you just came out of the jungle or just came out from some mountain and finally opened your eyes, because you arrived in another country. I have learned much, not only about baseball but about life, since I have come to this country. It is a dream, but when you arrive here, if you are not strong-minded, it can become a nightmare.
I think it is foolish and dangerous to label any people or any nation or any race as having more or less courage, more or less desire to excel than any other group. Gómez: It's America, and here they learn the game a different way than we do. When we come here, we need to adjust to the way they play baseball.
They don't know what's going on and they think we are talking about them.Felipe Alou, 1963: The Latin players need a spokesman to stand up for them. He does have to see the conditions of these countries, face to face.We need somebody to represent us who knows what goes on in the Latin American countries. He has to understand the economic conditions, the poverty.I do think the batter is being disrespectful to a pitcher if the batter hits a home run and stares at the pitcher. But sometimes, with the batters we have to hit the ball and don't even look at it and run for first. During those moments you can feel depressed at times, but at that moment you can choose one of two things, you can let what that person said sink in, or you can let it make you stronger and lead you on the path that you know is the right one. You come to a different country where you don't speak the language, where everything is different for you -- education, discipline, communication, laws.But why should a pitcher feel offended if I hit a home run and look at the ball? Alou: People who read this will say I have resentment. You have to make adjustments and start from scratch.
When they come back here to the States, they appreciate it and they treat you better.