WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto was just 6 months old when his father brought him to his first baseball game, a winter ball game in the Dominican Republic. Baseball has always been a bonding experience for Soto and his father, also named Juan Jose Soto, the man he credits with introducing him to the game. The elder Soto played baseball and softball for fun in his spare time and would always bring his son when he could.
And then they would hit. And hit. And hit until his father grew tired.
“He got tired,” Soto said, “but I never got tired as a kid.”
Soto would grab anything he could find. He’d hand his father a bottle cap, and he would use the bottle as a bat.
“That’s how everything started,” Soto said.
So it was extra special for Soto to have his father in attendance for his big league debut last May. When he found out he was getting called up to the big leagues, he called his family in the Dominican Republic and told them to get on a flight to D.C. When they were worried it would be too expensive, he assured them, it was OK.
“It was really special having my family out there,” Soto said. “For me, every time I go to the plate or go to the field, and you know family is out there, I want to give him my 100 percent every time I go out there and try to make it fun.”
During Father’s Day games, for the fourth consecutive year, players wore specially-designed New Era caps to raise awareness and funds for the fight against prostate cancer. Players also had the option to wear Stance multi-pattern blue-dyed socks. MLB will again donate 100% of its royalties from the sales of specialty caps and apparel emblazoned with the symbolic blue ribbon -- a minimum $300,000 collective donation -- to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.
This effort also includes the annual Prostate Cancer Foundation “Home Run Challenge,” which has given fans the chance to make a one-time monetary donation or pledge for every home run hit by their favorite MLB Clubs during the time period of June 1 through Father’s Day, all the while tracking where their team stacks up in a “Team vs. Team” competition. Every dollar donated through the Home Run Challenge goes to PCF to fund critical research to defeat prostate cancer. As of Thursday, more than $1.26 million has been pledged via the Home Run Challenge in 2019. Since inception, the Home Run Challenge has raised more than $51 million for PCF, the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research.
Founded in 1993, Prostate Cancer Foundation has funded nearly $800 million of cutting-edge research by 2,200 scientists at 220 leading cancer centers in 22 countries around the world. Because of PCF’s commitment to ending death and suffering from prostate cancer, the death rate is down more than 52% and 1.5 million men are alive today as a result. PCF research now impacts 67 forms of human cancer by focusing on immunotherapy, the microbiome, and food as medicine. Learn more at pcf.org.