Earlier this week the Dodgers welcomed Dodger legend Fernando Valenzuela and former Dodger Adrian Gonzalez among others as they began their celebration of Hispanic Heritage month this week. First up, a virtual hosing of “Our Stories/Nuestras Historias: Barrio Baseball — an LA Baseball Story.”
Over 500 high school and college students attended the virtual event, according to the Dodgers. Spectrum News 1 anchor Giselle Fernandez hosted Valenzuela, Gonzalez, and Dr. Richard A. Santillan, professor Emeritus at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Dr. Santillán leads the Latino Baseball History Project Baseball Book Series, which seeks to collect, document and promote the long and rich history of Mexican American baseball and softball.
A Gon had the following to say of barrio baseball leagues.
For us, they paved the way and they brought that love for the game of baseball to our culture, to our heritage and for us it’s very important to acknowledge [this history]. You see it in the Latino culture, the way that Latinos play the game, we express ourselves a little more…we’re having fun, we’re enjoying it, it’s part of who we are.
Naomi Rodriguez, Dodger Vice President, External Affairs & Community Relations, shared her feelings what this all means for her.
As a Latina and the daughter of Mexican immigrants, it brings me great joy to celebrate the contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans who helped build baseball culture in Los Angeles. Hispanic Heritage Month is about honoring our culture’s impact on society – and baseball – and it’s these stories of barrio baseball that helped build the foundation and a lasting legacy for Latinos in the Major Leagues.
According to the Dodgers, their social media team, along with the team’s media partners and the game broadcast will tell the stories of the club’s current and past Latino players and honor the club’s deep connection with the Latino community. The celebration will culminate with a specially themed Access SportsNet: Dodgers and SportsNet LA game broadcast of the Dodgers-Angels game on Saturday, Sept. 26 – the date when La Gran Fiesta Viva Los Dodgers would have taken place.