For those who live outside the Americas — North, Central and South — only a few other nations pay particular attention to baseball. Japan and Korea do. Australia does. Baseball, created in North America States and significantly shaped by Latin America, is the game not of “America,” but the Americas.
People in the Americas might therefore be the only ones who either remember or appreciate this next little anecdote, a gateway to today’s tennis story and the events at the WTA Tour stop in Bogota.
Bob Sheppard was the public address announcer for the New York Yankees for 56 years. He was the voice of old Yankee Stadium (and then the new Yankee Stadium when a new one was built). He became nicknamed “The Voice of God” for his clear, authoritative delivery as he announced the players who participated in baseball games.
Sheppard, a longtime teacher at St. John’s University in New York, occupied a special place among public address announcers in the United States and in American sports. What is — for most — a relatively unremarkable line of work became celebrated in the case of Sheppard’s career.
Sheppard was asked what he enjoyed about his work. He said that he enjoyed vocalizing Latin American names. One such example: Salome Barojas. The colorful, rich name rolls off the tongue, unlike a harsh-sounding American name such as Steve Sax (a contemporary of Barojas in Major League Baseball, decades ago).
If Salome Barojas is a memorable name in baseball — as an example of a name which is beautiful and distinctive — tennis has an even more beautiful name: Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.
If the game becomes as beautiful as the name, this career could become worthy of considerable praise.
Wednesday in Bogota, this name was introduced to a number of tennis fans who surely wondered, “Who is this young professional?”
Wow. Buoyed by the crowd and showing a sense of court space beyond her 17 years, wild card Maria Camila Osorio Serrano wins the last 6 games to beat an often impatient Kristie Ahn, 64 67(6) 63, and reach the quarterfinals of her home event.
— Ed Salmon (@fogmount) April 11, 2019
The photo contract we have with a news service doesn’t even have an available archive of Serrano. That’s how relatively unknown she is. Serrano’s victory represents yet another step forward for teenagers in tennis, at a time when Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both made the Miami Open men’s semifinals before turning 20. (Shapo will turn 20 later this month.)
Serrano’s win means that a 17-year-old will play in the Bogota semifinals. Serrano, 17, faces 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova in the Bogota quarterfinals.
I have no idea what will happen in the career of Maria Camila Osorio Serrano. It will be fascinating to see how often this name will be remembered — for reasons beyond its beauty.