Entertainment

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

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

A Drug Kingpin Accused Of Ordering The Shooting Of David Ortiz Was Arrested In Colombia For Drug Smuggling

Entertainment

A Drug Kingpin Accused Of Ordering The Shooting Of David Ortiz Was Arrested In Colombia For Drug Smuggling

davidortiz / Instagram

A Dominican drug kingpin was arrested in Colombia, just hours before an international flight, and it’s raising questions about his connection to the shooting of baseball legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz. “César the Abuser” Emilio Peralta had arrived by yacht from the Dominican Republic to Cartagena, Colombia, where authorities arrested him in Bocagrande, a wealthy neighborhood in the country’s entertainment capital. Peralta became known as one of the Dominican Republic’s most powerful drug kingpins, operating a drug trafficking scheme to move heroin and cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela through the Dominican Republic and the United States. His operation was so significant, the FBI had offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest, which Peralta had been evading since August 2018.

Peralta has passionately denied any involvement in Ortiz’s shooting. 

CREDIT: @ANARIDIS / TWITTER

“David is like my brother. We were neighbors for four years. I have never been with one of David’s women and David was never involved with any of mine. When David comes from out there [the United States] he brings me my perfume, my gift, my sneakers. David is crazy with my children. My children love him,” Peralta reportedly said in an audio recording.

Meanwhile, Ortiz’s spokesman, Joe Baerlein told The New York Post that Ortiz sold his condo after he saw “Peralta’s thugs hanging out in the building.” The conflicting reports have led to questions about Peralta’s involvement in Ortiz’s shooting.

Rumors spread that Ortiz was involved in a love triangle with Peralta that reached a breaking point the day before his shooting.

CREDIT: @PORTAZONA / TWITTER

The local paper, El Dominicano, reported that Ortiz had bought Peralta’s girlfriend, Dominican model Maria Yeribell Martinez Garcia, a luxury Lexus SUV. The June 8 report included an alleged ownership pink slip in Martinez Garcia’s name along with a check signed by Ortiz. On June 9, Ortiz was shot several times in the back while enjoying a drink at the Dial Bar and Lounge in East Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ortiz immediately underwent a 6-hour surgery, during which portions of his intestines, colon, and his entire gallbladder were removed. On June 10, the Red Sox sent a medical flight to bring Ortiz for two more surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

At the hospital, Martinez Garcia was captured on video fighting with another woman, Fary Almanzar Fernandez, in the waiting room for Ortiz. Ortiz’s spokesman told The New York Post that Ortiz “considers her a friend and he has been seen with her at public places with other people around,” and that El Papi did not buy her a car.

Peralta has not been formally charged in any connection to Ortiz’s shooting.

CREDIT: @HJTHEREALJ / TWITTER

The Daily Mail reports that Peralta was captured on video surveillance walking outside the medical facility in the “moments after” Ortiz’s shooting. Authorities have emphasized that Ortiz was not the intended target of the attempted assassination, but rather was ordered by Mexican drug lord Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez and intended for his cousin, Sixto David Fernández. Remarkably, the shooter shot Ortiz because he was wearing white pants, which resembled the blurry photo of the intended mark, which was obscured by a white object. Gomez Vasquez was arrested on June 28, along with Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, who allegedly took that fateful photo of Ortiz and Fernández.

Ortiz was released from Mass. General six weeks after his shooting, and was still unable to eat food. 

Peralta’s two-decade reign over his Latin American cocaine and heroin trafficking trade seems to be over.

CREDIT: @ANARIDIS / TWITTER

Puerto Rican FBI officials say that Peralta had been conducting an illicit drug trade since 1997. In 2000, Peralta was arrested in Santo Domingo for possessing more than four kilos of cocaine. In 2007, he was linked to a 215 kilos shipment of cocaine, but not convicted. The United States announced charges against Peralta in August and raided 40 properties linked to Peralta, including the condo that once shared the same building as Ortiz’s residence. 

“Cesar Emilio Peralta and his criminal organization have used violence and corruption in the Dominican Republic to traffic tons of cocaine and opioids into the United States and Europe. Treasury is targeting these Dominican drug kingpins, their front persons, and the nightclubs they have used to launder money and traffic women,” the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence agency said in a statement. Two MLB players were arrested and later released for allegedly laundering Peralta’s drug money. Officials state that more information will be released later.

READ: Authorities Identify Person Of Interest In Planned Shooting Of David Ortiz

Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

Entertainment

Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

veronicaalvarez / Instagram

Whether or not you’re a big fan of baseball, Veronica Alvarez is a name you’ll want to keep on your radar. Hired as coach of the Oakland A’s earlier this year, Alvarez has had an impressive Major League baseball career—and it’s only getting better. As a catcher, coach, and California firefighter, Alvarez totally represents the limitless roles that badass Latinas can fill.

A first-generation Cuban-American, her traditional upbringing discouraged Alvarez from playing baseball. Her family did not support the idea that it was a sport for girls, but Alvarez still served as the bat girl for her brother’s team until she was old enough to join the Little League. And despite their attempts to pique her interest in more “feminine” activities, like ballet, her parents let her take this first step toward her passion. “For a Hispanic girl to be able to do whatever she wants—that’s not a norm, unfortunately. I’m very thankful to my parents for that, and for never limiting what I could accomplish,” Alvarez told Major League Baseball.

However, many women who grow up playing baseball in the U.S.—including Alvarez—switch to softball, due to a lack of infrastructure supporting women’s baseball at the collegiate level.

Credit: USA Baseball

It’s estimated that of 100,000 girls who play Little League baseball, only 1,000 continue with the sport until high school. From that point on, at the collegiate and professional levels, women more commonly play softball, so for those players who may be eligible to attend college on an athletic scholarship, the transition from baseball to softball makes a lot of sense. Alvarez was no exception to this trend—her switch to softball earned her a scholarship to play Division I ball at Villanova University, as well as an opportunity to spend a summer playing on a professional team in Spain.

Even after years of playing and excelling at softball, Alvarez could not stop thinking about her original dream: to dominate the baseball field. “I always felt like I was more of a baseball player playing softball than a softball player,” she told Bitch Media. “In baseball, there’s a game within the game, more strategy, more situational plays.” After returning from Spain in 2006, Alvarez searched for ways to reenter the world of baseball. She initially sought out The Silver Bullets, an all-female professional baseball team that played from 1994-1997. When she discovered that they no longer existed, she came upon the U.S. Women’s National Baseball Team (USWNT). She tried out for the USWNT in 2008, and has since played on the 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016 teams (she missed 2014 because she had just been hired as a firefighter, and the start date of this position was the same week as the tournament).

Since she first became involved with the USWNT, she has coached the USWNT team and collaborated with Major League Baseball (MLB) to create more opportunities for female baseball players around the country. She was also the only woman to coach at Spring Training this year.

When speaking to Major League Baseball about her Spring Training experience, Alvarez said, “I’m trying to show girls and women that you can accomplish everything … for every little girl that has a dream to be involved in the game, to let them know that it’s a possibility, that you just have to set your mind to it and work hard.”

She doesn’t just talk the talk—Alvarez walks the walk. In April, she helped facilitate MLB’s Trailblazer Series, a tournament in California that brings girls together to play their sport with support and solidarity. Add to that the Breakthrough Series for girls and the MLB Grit high-school baseball tournament, and you’ve got a sure-fire way to provide young female players with opportunities for development and a channel through which to be scouted for the USWNT. “They come to these events and they see that women play the game, that they’re accomplished and well-rounded,” said Alvarez. “I think it’s so cool that everyone’s there to kind of promote accomplishing your dreams no matter what.”

Alvarez aims to continue developing infrastructure for female baseball players to achieve their dreams. While there is a (more or less) clear career trajectory for men in baseball, many girls don’t realize that there is a Major League team just waiting for them, and Alvarez wants to change that. “I want the girls to know we exist,” Alvarez said. “Not for our fame, but for them just to have that kind of sense of security that they’re not different from others, just because they like a game that girls don’t usually play.” As a pioneering figure with a dearth of experience under her belt, Alvarez is the perfect person to lead the way for new generations of girls in baseball.

READ: Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María