Entertainment

Fans of David Ortiz Celebrated The Baseball Legends Return To Fenway Park

MLB / YouTube

From the moment that David Ortiz was shot in the Dominican Republic in early June, his extended family, the Boston Red Sox, have been by his side to provide Big Papi and those close to him with “all available resources” that they may need.

After Ortiz had undergone surgery to have his gallbladder and parts of his intestines removed, the Red Sox sent a medical flight to the Dominican Republic to have him transferred to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital for further treatment. Big Papi was released in late July following a third surgery. 

David Ortiz surprised his fans at Boston’s Fenway Park as he threw the game’s first pitch.

It has been a long road to recovery, but on Monday, Ortiz made a surprise return to Fenway Park to see his extended family in person, throw out the ceremonial first pitch to his former Red Sox teammate Jason Varitek, and deliver a message to his fans. 

“I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be here with all of you,” Ortiz said to the crowd, per ESPN. “I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me. … They were the first ones there supporting me.”

“I want to thank you for all for your prayers, all of them came home,” Ortiz continued.

When he threw the pitch, his fans went wild.

Former Red Sox legend David Ortiz threw the first pitch Monday night at Boston’s Fenway Park in a game against the Yankees, marking his first public appearance since he was shot in the Dominican Republic in June.

The pitch, tossed to team captain Jason Varitek, prompted fans to go understandably wild. 

Ortiz also thanked his former teammates as well as the Yankees. 

“A lot of my boys over there came to check on Big Papi; I appreciate it,” he said, likely referencing Yankee players and fellow Dominicans Gary Sánchez and Edwin Encarnación, who visited Ortiz at his home last week.

All of Boston wanted Big Papi to know that they were there for him.

The Red Sox introduced Ortiz as a symbol of “resilience, strength, triumph and love,” and those words couldn’t be more true of someone who was able to experience a special day like today after fighting for his life with his family, country, and “fuckin’ city” all behind him.

Fans reacted on Twitter with absolute joy.

Fans from New York to Boston reveled in their excitement across social media. People were genuinely shocked to see David Ortiz on the field at Fenway Park throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

It was the sign that so many were waiting for: to know that Big Papi was on the road to recovery.

Even those who ‘detest’ the Red Sox took to Twitter to wish Big Papi well.

In a sign that Big Papi has fans all around the world, even those who claim to hate the Boston Red Sox took to social media to share in the excitement that one of baseball’s greats was back in the game.

David Ortiz had been recovering from a shooting in his native Dominican Republic.

Ortiz had been shot in the back at a bar while visiting his home country. Following the incident, doctors removed his gallbladder and a portion of his intestine, The Associated Press reported. He also sustained liver damage.

The player underwent three surgeries total after experiencing complications from the gunshot wounds, according to his wife, Tiffany Ortiz. In July, he was released from the hospital and started rehabilitation at home, according to the Red Sox. 

The attorney general of the Dominican Republic, Jean Alain Rodriguez, claimed the intended target of the shooting was the person Ortiz was seated next to, Sixto David Fernández. 

There Is Still A Lot Of Mystery About The First-Ever Latino To Play In The MLB

Entertainment

There Is Still A Lot Of Mystery About The First-Ever Latino To Play In The MLB

Public Domain

When it comes to crossing racial barriers in baseball, Jackie Robinson is the first name that comes to mind for many. However, before there was Robinson, there was Luis “Lou” Manuel Castro, the first Latino player in baseball’s modern era and the first to play in Major League Baseball. While his name might not be in the same regard or even known to many like Robinson, Castro earned the important distinction.

But unlike Robinson, Castro’s playing career was short, only lasting 42 games for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1902 season where he batted for a .245 average. This might be why Castro isn’t as highly regarded or well known as the baseball Hall of Famer who broke baseball’s color line in 1947.

There might be another reason the name Lou Castro isn’t a household name. There are conflicting reports on where he was actually born.

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

There is some mystery when it comes to the legacy of Castro that many point to where he was really born. There are some reports that say Castro listed New York City as his birthplace later in his place but it’s widely agreed that he was born in 1876 in Medellin, Colombia. Castro would only stay in Colombia for eight years as his family and he would move to the U.S. due to the country’s political instability during that period. Castro’s family traveled by boat to the U.S. where they arrived in New York. 

According to Nick Martinez, a baseball historian who studied Castro’s life, a list of passengers he researched shows that an 8-year-old Castro was indeed on the S.S. Colon, which arrived in New York City on October 16, 1885, supporting the case that he did arrive from Colombia.

During his teen years, Castro would pick up baseball and by the age of 17 years old, he joined the Manhattan College baseball team. He was known to have quite the sense of humor among teammates and garnered the nickname “Judge.” He’d continue his playing career across multiple minor league clubs before getting his big break at the major leagues. Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack got a good look at Castro and offered him a try-out that resulted in him joining the Philadelphia Athletics.

While his run as a major league player was short with the Athletics, Castro still made enough of an impact to say he contributed to the club clinching the 1902 American League pennant. According to Remezcla, the rookie was invited to be a part of the team’s year-end banquet where gave an acceptance speech on behalf of some fellow teammate. The celebration even resulted in him singing some songs in Spanish. 

There is also the highly debated theory that Castro was somehow related to Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro. 

Credit: Public Domain

The theories don’t just stop with this birthplace, Castro has been linked to being related to Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro. He has both claimed and denied being related to the infamous dictator. It was known that Castro frequently claimed to have been either the nephew or cousin (or even son) of Castro, who had prior family and business connections back in Castro’s home country of Colombia. 

The legacy of Lou Castro might be a bit complicated but he led the way for other Latino ballplayers to break into the big leagues. 

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

While his playing days were short, Castro’s baseball life continued as he became the first Latino to “manage a club in Organized Baseball” after he retired as a player. Castro would eventually die in New York at the age of 64 on Sept. 24, 1941. 

While Castro’s career didn’t immediately lead to a burst of Latin players making their way to the big leagues, it would be another decade before Latino players started to make an impact on the field, he still paved a way for many Latinos to follow. 

Iconic Latin stars like Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants respectively, would rise to fame in the late ’50s. In 2018, the number of Latino MLB players hit 31.9 percent, the highest in 20 years. The number is a testament to the ever-growing popularity of the game in Latin countries and the door that Castro opened back in 1902.  

While his story might not be as well know as other baseball players, Lou Castro does have his place in history. 

Specifically, Latino history. 

READ: This Victory Makes Christian Villanueva The Fifth Mexican Baseball Player In MLB Ever To Hit Three Home Runs In A Single Game

LA Dodgers Visited A School To Hand Out Grocery Gift Cards And This Is Why We Love Them

Entertainment

LA Dodgers Visited A School To Hand Out Grocery Gift Cards And This Is Why We Love Them

Dodgers / Instagram

Sports teams are more than just a source of entertainment for the masses. Teams work as hubs for community cohesion and as a social glue that brings people from different backgrounds together. We can’t think of Boston without its fierce and amazing Red Sox fan communities. We can say the same of our good old Los Angeles, which the great late novelist Carlos Fuentes described as the multicultural city of the future. Los Angeles is in equal measures the city of dreams, tinsel town and the place where millions of people from all over the world come to get a piece of the American Dream. Besides the rich Latino presence in the city, there are equally strong ethnic communities such as the thriving Korean, Ethiopian and Central American comunidades. 

It only fitting, then, for the city to have a baseball team that represents the spirit of solidarity of these communities. That team is the MLB organization Los Angeles Dodgers. 

They did not originate in Los Angeles, but Los Dodgers are as Cali as it comes!

Credit: Instagram. @ dodgers

Contemporary fans might not know this, but Los Dodgers were established in Brooklyn, New York, in 1883. They moved to Los Angeles in 1958 and the rest is history. They have been part of the community for decades due to their charity efforts and just plain awesomeness. The Dodgers Foundation holds multiple events throughout the year. Here, we can see player Ross Stripling reading to more than 100 chamaquitos at the Enendale Library. 

This week The Los Angeles Dodgers and Mayor Eric Gracetti visited children in need.

Credit: Instagram. @mayorofla

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was joined by the extraordinary L.A. Dodgers, L.A. Dodgers Foundation, and the Getty House Foundation to present gift cards to young people experiencing homelessness. This initiative was part of MLB’s ‘Home Plate Project’ to take action against food insecurity. More than 650 kids whose families are experiencing homelessness received $50 dollar gift cards. This is a a huge help for families who are basically surviving meal by meal. Said Garcetti during the event: “Who’s been hungry in this room before? … We believe that it’s the right of every little boy and girl and big boy and girl and young men and young women to make sure that they don’t have to worry about their next meal”. Many of these kids come from Latino and African-American families. 

The Dodgers have deep roots in the Latino community.

Credit: Instagram. @dodgercelebs

Latinos have a deep and cherished sense of solidarity. Mario Lopez, who was raised in a working-class Mexican Catholic family, is a big fan. Just look at those dimples, totally happy being there with his kid under the Los Angeles sun, just watching the game and enjoying a much deserved chelita

We still can’t get over Karamo’s Dodgers hat collection! 

Credit: Instagram. @karamo

And of course one of the Latinos of the moment, Karamo Brown from Queer Eye (yes, he has Cuban blood sabor!), has a huge LA Dodgers hat collection. His overall awesomeness and love for just causes just fits with the Dodgers, right?

And being a Dodgers fan is a family tradition for many proud Cali Latinos.

Credit: Instagram. @val49ers4life

If you go to Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park you will see a lot of Latino families enjoying the game. Nothing cutter than seeing a gown-up Latina watching a game with his papito santo or their abuelo. 

Los Angeles Dodgers are basically el equipo de la gente.

Credit: Instagram. @karlablue23

According to estimates drawn by Jaime Jarrin, the Dodgers’s Spanish-language announcer, an average crown at Dodger Stadium is 45% Latino!

They have a whole Spanish-speaking media team to connect with the community.

Credit: Instagram. @losdodgers

Yes, you can follow the team in the official Spanish-language website https://www.mlb.com/es/dodgers. And of course los puedes seguir on various social media platforms. The management really knows how to connect with aficionados

And of course, the love Mexican-Americans have for Los Dodgers started with the legendary Fernando Valenzuela.

Credit: Instagram. @marichiloco_1

It all changed in 1981, when Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela became a huge star. In a New York Times article Dodger fan Angie Varela said: ““In the ’70s, I didn’t feel the love so much. Then, in the ’80s, there was a huge number of Mexican-Americans that came out because of Fernando Valenzuela. But now? This is the most I’ve ever seen”. Yes, Dodger fandom is alive and well! 

Valenzuela is a cultural icon that went far beyond sports and defined what hard working talented migrants look like! 

Credit: Instagram. @officialdannytrejo

For many Mexican-Americans, Valenzuela was the hero they had long waited for, a sports figure that mainstream America could learn to respect. And he is still admired by all, including our very own amazing Latino Danny Trejo, a community leader in his own right