Assimilation at the cost of individuality and heritage is sometimes a reality.
At one time the names of immigrants were simplified, altered or even outright changed at Ellis Island upon entry into the United States.
Now, Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers has joined a campaign to encourage MLB players with Hispanic heritage to return the accent mark to their names on their uniforms.
— Adrián González (@Adrian_ElTitan) May 9, 2016
In Spanish, Gonzalez, who is a citizen of both the U.S. and Mexico, explained in his tweet that after 16 years in baseball, all that was missing was for him to put an accent on one thing. Then he dared teammate Enrique Hernandez to do the same. The included video showed Gonzalez from the back, walking up the dugout steps and his uniform name with the accent clearly visible.
Hernandez responded to the challenge, changing his uniform as well. The Puerto Rican then declared with pride on social media how beautiful it looked.
— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) May 10, 2016
Besides being true to their Latino roots, the accent marks can remind speakers how to properly pronounce the names of players. English speakers tend to stress the first syllable of a last name, but the accent mark is placed on the syllable sound that should be stressed instead. The #PonleAcento campaign can go beyond names alone, and for many can signify the unique style and energy Hispanic players bring to the game.
— @BótalaDeJonrón (@BotalaDeJonron) April 5, 2016
Players from Latin America account for around 30 percent of MLB players, yet only recently did MLB allow the accent change on uniforms as a way to show support of the Latin contingent. With players and the big leagues working together to let everyone know about the option to add it, the accent may soon become a more commonplace sight at the ballpark.