MLB to hold celebration
Major League Baseball is concluding its 2018 regular season with the largest sweep of Hispanic-themed celebrations in the league’s history.
MLB’s Hispanic Heritage Month activities running throughout September will include:
■ A new youth stickball tournament, the Bronx Stickball Classic, running on Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 near Yankee Stadium. The stickball tournament is an expansion of a one-day event held last year as part of the league’s ongoing Play Ball youth participation campaign.
■ A first Play Ball trip to Panama involving former major leaguers and native Panamanians Bruce Chen and Olmedo Saenz, which follows Play Ball events earlier this year in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
■ Players and coaches wearing “Ponle Acento” (Put An Accent On It) T-shirts prior to select games this month in batting practice.
■ New broadcast and digital spots across the league’s in-house and partner media platforms spotlighting Hispanic contributions to MLB and the development of a “Ponle Acento” accented player jersey.
■ Spanish-language online and Twitter counterparts to MLB.com’s popular “Cut4” feed.
■ Newly produced vignettes on current Hispanic MLB players that will air on MLB Network.
Those league-level efforts will be joined by a series of club activations. The San Diego Padres, for example, will dedicate their Sept. 14-16 home weekend series at Petco Park to activities including Hispanic and Latin food and drink specials, presentation of its Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Awards, a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day, and a postgame event involving a Spanish-speaking Padre and Mexican Little League teams.
“There has been a continually growing push in our efforts to celebrate Hispanic heritage. And the way it also connects to things like Play Ball and player marketing, it’s a sign of how we have repositioned our marketing efforts to be a lot quicker and more nimble,” said Barbara McHugh, MLB senior vice president of marketing.
MLB originally introduced the “Ponle Acento” effort in 2016. Nearly 30 percent of current major leaguers are of Latino descent, and more than 170 players and coaches in recent years have changed their name presentations on uniforms and in broadcasts to include marks such as accents or tildes.
The planned events this month follow last week’s release of the 30 nominees, one player from each club, for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award, named after the late Pirates and Hall of Fame outfielder from Puerto Rico and recognizing extraordinary character, community involvement and philanthropy.