Spanish-speaking Dodgers fans got to know some of the Latino players who have donned the white and blue on Thursday during the club’s fifth Zoom Party, which was conducted entirely en español.
The call also featured two prominent former Dodgers, first baseman Adrián González and pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. Helping to steer the conversation were the team's long-time Spanish-language broadcasters, Jaime Jarrín, Jorge Jarrín and Pepe Yñiguez.
The event kicked off with participants reminiscing about the experiences and the figures that sparked their interest in baseball. Valenzuela and Graterol pointed out that they come from baseball-loving families and learned the game from parents and siblings. González, who spent much of his childhood in San Diego, said his dad took to him to watch Valenzuela pitch and that he grew up admiring the hitting prowess of late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
Hernández’s favorite player was another Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey Jr., although the Puerto Rico native pointed out that, growing up in the ’90s, there were many prominent Puerto Rican players in the big leagues to root for, such as Iván Rodríguez, Juan González, Roberto Alomar, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, to name a few.
“I really liked Roberto Alomar,” said Hernández. "I played the infield and Alomar was a beast who won, like, 200 Gold Gloves. I loved watching his defensive highlights and obviously, he was a tremendous hitter, too.”
The players also discussed their most memorable games in the Majors. Hernández’s choice, as others were quick to point out, was a no-brainer: his three-homer performance in the decisive Game 5 of the 2017 National League Championship Series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
For González, the trip down memory lane took him back to his first of his five All-Star Games, in 2008, which was held at the old Yankee Stadium in the Bronx during the ballpark’s final season.
“There were, I can’t remember how many, baseball legends on the field at the same time,” González recalled. “To have that experience was incredible because of the number of legends in the clubhouse, in such a nostalgic ballpark.”
Participants also fielded questions from fans who were eager to hear about their go-to recipes, as well as the TV shows and movies they'd been watching while baseball is on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
González pointed out that carne asada tacos are always a good choice. Jarrín and Urías said they are all about ceviche, the cured seafood dish. Ríos revealed he’s on a mostly broccoli-and-chicken diet these days, while adding that he enjoys whipping up the Puerto Rican stew known as pollo guisado, with white rice and fried plantains as sides.
González warned Ríos not to advertise his skills as a chef, lest he end up cooking for the entire team.
As far as entertainment options are concerned, Urías recommended "La Casa de Papel," the popular Netflix heist drama series known in English as "Money Heist," a suggestion that González seconded.
Before parting, the participants expressed their gratitude to the team’s sizable Latino fanbase for tuning in.
“To be part of something like this in Spanish, to offer our Hispanic fans something in their own language, is an honor for me,” said Hernández.