Reds celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Fiesta Rojos

September 25th, 2023

The Reds celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with their annual "Fiesta Rojos" on Sept. 22.

The day full of events kicked off with over 100 students from the Academy of Multilingual Immersion Studies, Roberts Academy, and the Academy of World Languages visiting the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy. Local Latino radio station, La Mega, started the activities with some music for the kids to enjoy. Next, Reds Spanish Translator and Media Relations Assistant Jorge Merlos facilitated a Q&A session between the students and Reds pitchers Fernando Cruz, Alexis Díaz and Daniel Duarte, along with infielders Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte.

Cruz has attended the Academy’s Fiesta Rojos celebration multiple times and was excited to be back. He knows the impact these interactions can have on children.

“When I was their age, a lot of times players didn’t respond to kids and that impacted me the wrong way,” Cruz said. “I promised myself that when I got to the Major Leagues, I would not do the same. I would pay attention to kids because we’re humans like everyone else. We just have the gift to play baseball. Other than that, we’re the same. Everybody is important. So giving back is a huge thing for my career and what motivates me. That’s something that I thank my Lord for giving me the opportunity to do.”

After the Q&A, the kids broke off into groups where they had the opportunity to work with the big leaguers on their pitching, hitting and fielding skills. The fun extended beyond baseball, with one of the stations including an introductory lesson to salsa dancing. The field trip concluded with a lunch courtesy of Hot Head Burritos.

That evening at the ballpark, the Reds held their annual Hispanic Community Night with Fiesta Rojos presented by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Toyota Dealers. Activities included a DJ from La Mega outside the ballpark on Crosley Terrace, pregame ceremonies, and in-game activation.

Many of the ceremonies featured members of Cincinnati’s Hispanic community. Representing the 22 countries in Europe, the Caribbean, as well as North, Central and South America that are celebrated each year during Hispanic Heritage month, students from the three schools that participated in the Academy clinic that morning helped present the colors for the game.

Other ceremonies tied to Fiesta Rojos included the national anthem, Altafiber Hometown Hero and Kroger First Responder. Kaylee Yoder and Emma Martinez from Back2Back Ministries received the Hispanic Heritage Community Night Community Advocate Award presented by PNC. Additionally, Reds players of Latino descent took part in an on-field ceremony where they held their native country’s flag and received certificates of recognition from the Ohio Commission on Hispanic & Latino Affairs.

Among fans in attendance were guests from the “Amigos de los Rojos” program sponsored by Reds players Cruz, Díaz, Vladimir Gutierrez, Reiver Sanmartin and Tony Santillan. The players’ contributions go toward providing game tickets, concession vouchers, Rojos hats and transportation for select games throughout the season.

One of the other ceremonies featured Reds pitcher Hunter Greene being recognized on the field as the team’s nominee for MLB’s annual Roberto Clemente Award.

The Roberto Clemente Award is presented annually by MLB to a player who best exemplifies the spirit of the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder with his play on the field and service in the community. The team was out of town during MLB’s annual Clemente Day, which took place in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month beginning on Sept. 15, so the Reds honored the Pirates legend and humanitarian when the team returned to town.

On the day he would be recognized as the team’s nominee, Greene was demonstrating that Clemente spirit yet again. The pitcher hosted 25 veterans at the ballpark to watch batting practice, take a photo, participate in a private Q&A and watch the Reds play the Pirates.

As part of the nomination, Greene accepted a $7,500 donation on behalf of the Hunter Greene ’17 Endowed Scholarship Fund he established at his alma mater, Notre Dame High School in California.

"To be recognized means a lot, especially to be mentioned in the same sentence as Roberto Clemente and the impact he left on this game -- not just in the Latin community but for everybody that's here playing this beautiful game," Greene told