Reds celebrate 'Fiesta Rojos' in community

September 26th, 2022

The Reds celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a full day’s worth of “Fiesta Rojos” festivities on Sept. 23.

The day 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 and participating in their own Fiesta Rojos. The event started with a dance party thanks to local Latin radio station La Mega. Next, the kids enjoyed a Q&A session with Reds pitchers Alexis Díaz, Fernando Cruz, Reiver Sanmartin and Dauri Moreta, outfielder Aristides Aquino, infielder Alejo Lopez and assistant coach Rolando Valles. Held in Spanish, the Q&A was facilitated by Reds Spanish translator and media relations assistant Jorge Merlos.

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

“It was a great experience, a great thing by the Reds doing this for the Latin community and the kids that most need the attention,” Cruz said. “It was great giving back to the community.”

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 on Crosley Terrace, live music in the First Star Fan Zone, pregame ceremonies, and in-game activations. Reds players and coaches wore special “Los Rojos” jerseys for the game against the Brewers.

Many of the ceremonies featured members of Cincinnati’s Hispanic community, including the honor guard displaying flags from Latin countries, the national anthem singer, the altafiber "Hometown Hero" and the Kroger "First Responder of the Game." Reds Hall of Famer and Big Red Machine shortstop David Concepción was recognized on the field for his induction into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame. In addition, Reds players of Latin 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.

“It’s always amazing to represent our country,” Cruz said. “To be able to show the flag and represent it on the field in front of our home crowd is an amazing experience. I’m really proud of my country and representing what it means to be a Puerto Rican.”

Among fans in attendance were guests from the “Amigos de los Rojos” program sponsored by Reds players Luis Cessa, Vladimir Gutierrez, Tony Santillan, Donovan Solano, Aquino and former Reds pitcher Luis Castillo. The players’ contributions go toward providing game tickets, concession vouchers, Rojos hats and transportation for select games throughout the season.

Earlier in the week, the Reds recognized Joey Votto as the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented annually by Major League Baseball to a player who best exemplifies the spirit of the 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 September 15, so the Reds honored the Pirates legend and humanitarian when the team returned to town. As part of the nomination, Votto accepted a $7,500 donation on behalf of the charity of his choice, the Freestore Foodbank.