MIAMI -- The ocean breeze, humidity and Daddy Yankee music felt familiar to Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor on Monday afternoon at Play Ball Park in downtown's Bayfront Park.Lindor, donning a #Ponleacento T-shirt, threw a bouncy ball to members of the the 6U Cooper City Cowboys and participants in the
MIAMI -- The ocean breeze, humidity and Daddy Yankee music felt familiar to Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor on Monday afternoon at Play Ball Park in downtown's Bayfront Park.
Lindor, donning a #Ponleacento T-shirt, threw a bouncy ball to members of the the 6U Cooper City Cowboys and participants in the Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run event from Puerto Rico on Hispanic Heritage Day.
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The two-time All-Star, who competed in this year's World Baseball Classic, also answered questions from the kids. Lindor offered advice that follows his mantra: "Be consistent."
"Growing up in Puerto Rico, it helped me to want it a little bit more, because the players always go back and they always are around," Lindor said. "It's cool seeing them, and when the World Baseball Classic was in Puerto Rico, it made me realize that's what I wanted to do. I'm glad I got a chance to do it."
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Angel Lopez Roche of Coamo, Puerto Rico, won his age-10 division at the Pitch, Hit & Run competition. He asked Lindor about facing Classic teammate Javier Baez in the 2016 World Series, when the Cubs beat the Tribe in Game 7.
Roche, who had previously met Lindor in Puerto Rico, called the Major Leaguer one of his favorites. He wants to follow in Lindor's footsteps by making it to The Show.
"I was very curious and excited to talk to him," Roche said in Spanish. "It was neat to talk to him. [The Puerto Rican Classic team] was the best team I've ever seen. It was fun to watch."
Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, a special consultant to MLB focusing on youth development in Puerto Rico, also made an appearance. He threw batting practice to kids from Camp Willow and Overtown Optimist Club.
The 12-time All-Star second baseman and son of a former Major Leaguer has seen the evolution of the experience for Hispanic players in the big leagues. Alomar is glad to see the likes of Lindor, Baez and the Astros' Carlos Correa succeed.
"I think now it's much easier, especially in Latin America," said Alomar, who played 17 big league seasons. "In Puerto Rico, they have schools where they can speak English at a young age, a language school. Before, they didn't have that. It was more of a challenge. Now, they have everything to learn more than before. It's up to us to send the message to the kids to stay on the right track -- two paths in life -- the good path and the bad path. Hopefully they can take the right path."
Play Ball Park, in its second year after a successful run in San Diego in 2016, is a free interactive All-Star Week attraction created by Major League Baseball to provide opportunities for youth from ages 4-17 to play baseball and softball in a fun, welcoming setting. Play Ball Park measures about one acre in size and includes a youth-sized turf diamond featuring daily scheduled programming and open-play as well as batting tunnels, pitching inflatables, MLB sponsor activation zones and a new "Stickball Alley." Each young person who participates in Play Ball Park activities will receive a plastic or foam Play Ball bat & ball set made by Franklin and a Play Ball-branded T-shirt. Programming partners for 2017 Play Ball Park include USA Baseball, USA Softball, The Positive Coaching Alliance, the Marlins, Boys & Girls Club of America and generous Play Ball supporters such as Chevrolet, Scotts, Nathan's Famous and New Era.
Play Ball Park, which is accessible to children and parents through Tuesday, has free admission, after signing a required participation waiver.
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Christin De Nicola is an editorial producer for MLB.com based in Miami.