Editor’s note: Press here to visit our special site with all the coverage of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
Santiago, Chile – Edwin Hernandez is present as a referee in the baseball tournament of the Pan American Games Santiago 2023, making Puerto Rican pelota have at least one representative in this competition.
Defending champion Puerto Rico did not qualify for the Games because he fell short of achieving this goal in the last Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023, under the tutelage of the former big leagues Juan “Igor” Gonzalez. The absence of Puerto Ricans is not common.
Hernandez has already worked in two games of this tournament that is held in a country that has no baseball tradition. And here the baseball people have asked him about the absence of the Puerto Rican ninth.
“I have been asked, when does Puerto Rico play?”Hernandez said. “I have been asked why (Puerto Rico is not there), especially when Puerto Rico won baseball at the Pan American Games in Lima 2019.”
“But thank God we are here.”
However, Hernandez is having a good personal experience, without forgetting that he is also giving representation to Puerto Rican baseball.
“It is an honor that, even though we don’t have a team, they selected me to referee. We must thank all those referees, like Anibal Rosario, Carlos Rey and Willie Rodriguez, who opened the gap to be there even if the team was absent“, said.
With this participation in Santiago 2023, Hernandez has already completed his return to the Olympic cycle with appearances in regional, continental and Olympic games.
“Thank God these are my first Pan American Games and I am completing the cycle,” said Hernandez, who debuted at the Ponce ’93 Central American and Caribbean Games and who was active at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Hernandez also said that he worked in the 2010 Mayaguez Central Americans, in two Pre-Olympics (2006, 2020) and in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
The referee has seen that Chile does not have a baseball tradition, although its team is active in the tournament. He said that the country – dominated by soccer – is making an effort to start a culture in this sport.
“There is no tradition and they are trying to implement it. The quality (of the tournament) will suffer. They already lost 16-0 in their first game against Mexico. It’s like us who didn’t have football before. It’s going to take them a while to develop baseball.”.
Chile participates in the tournament as it hosts the Games.
Hernandez said that the baseball stadium is designed to be dismantled for parts once the tournament concludes.
He described that the dugouts They are carriages, just like the players’ and referees’ dressing rooms. He explained that the cars are fully equipped with everything necessary, giving the appearance that they are facilities made for baseball.
“They have surprised me by creating a different infield; dugouts are wagons. The park looks great with wagons and they have everything. It’s very interesting. When they see it, they will notice it,” said Hernandez, specifying that the grass is artificial.