Although we weren’t even born yet when Fernando Valenzuela first took the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 1981, “Fernandomania” represents the same cultural pride that Emiliano Zapata, Cantinflas, Frida Khalo and Hugo Sanchez gives us in our lives. In fact, we’re even closer to Fernando because he captured the Dodgers’ Mexican fan-base in overnight takeover after throwing a complete game in the opening day of the 1981 baseball season. In an instant, Fernandomania became to reason to drive from the Valley to Chavez Ravine.
Today, you can still pick out dozens of Valenzuela jerseys worn with pride by a new crop of Latino Angelenos who still believe in Fernandomania’s magic. And tonight, ESPN’s celebrated 30 for 30 documentary series will look back to the time when Fernando Valenzuela, a Mexican pitcher from the Sonoran desert, captivated Los Angeles and became an instant Mexican hero. “Fernando Nation”, directed by Brooklyn-based-DF-born-Angeleno-raised Cruz Angeles, will take us on a journey from the early Mexican ties between the old Chavez Ravine neighborhood and the current site of the Dodgers legendary stadium, to a man who became an instant hit with the Mexican community. It’s a story you don’t want to miss.
The documentary airs this evening at 8pmEST/5pmPST and you can see a clip below.