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Ascencio spreads MLB gospel in native Mexico

@LangoschMLB
April 13, 2019

MONTERREY, Mexico -- Almost everywhere Polo Ascencio has gone since arriving in Monterrey late Thursday, he has gone with gear in hand. Ascencio, who is in his third year as a Spanish broadcaster for the Cardinals, made one request to the organization before joining the club for this weekend’s Mexico

MONTERREY, Mexico -- Almost everywhere Polo Ascencio has gone since arriving in Monterrey late Thursday, he has gone with gear in hand.

Ascencio, who is in his third year as a Spanish broadcaster for the Cardinals, made one request to the organization before joining the club for this weekend’s Mexico Series. He wanted to bring as many Cardinals-related items as he could -- hats, shirts, other team giveaways -- to leave behind in his home country.

Ascencio gathered enough to fill an entire suitcase.

“Everybody has treated me so nice over in St. Louis,” said Ascencio, a Tijuana native. “I’m trying to treat people like that here. I’m trying to give them a little experience of Major League Baseball. Those kids, those moms, those dads, those grandpas that get a jersey or something like that, I know that they will cherish that item forever.

“I am just a vehicle giving people joy. I’m just a kid from Tijuana living a dream I never thought was possible. I was never brave enough to dream this.”

How could he have been? It wasn’t all that long ago that Ascencio was working as a janitor. Before that, he cleaned carpets, something that his uncle reminded him of when Ascencio visited on Saturday. Ascencio estimated that it had been about 25 years since he had seen that uncle and other family members who live in Monterrey.

Ascencio was paired with Bengie Molina in 2017 when the Cardinals experimented with broadcasting games on a Spanish radio station in St. Louis. The response was positive, and the Cardinals have added more broadcasts each year since.

This year, Ascencio and Molina will call 53 games. These two, however, will be different.

“Thinking about it right now is giving me goosebumps,” Ascencio said before Saturday’s game against the Reds. “It’s been great, all of this. But I know when it’s going to hit me. I know when it’s going to be very emotional for me. I know that once the Mexican anthem starts, I know that when I’m standing and saluting my flag, my mom, my brothers, my friends, everybody is going to be doing that. And to me, that’s what this is about.

“It’s about family. It’s about friendship. It’s not so much about country. It’s about a moment in time when nobody else can feel what I’m feeling, and that is something that I will never forget.”

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.