Padres stars inspire young Latino baseball players in US and Mexico
The Padres and the Giants were on Mexico’s biggest stage in the country’s capital city and the baseball series did not disappoint.
But the matchup was bigger than the games themselves. Padres slugger Nelson Cruz said it best during an emotional speech over the weekend: “With sacrifice and hard work, there is no dream that’s impossible,” Cruz said in Spanish at Liga Olmeca.
That's a youth baseball facility in Mexico City where he and other Padres spent some time with young boys and girls ahead of their Mexico City games.
Warison Gabriel Ramirez Cruz was one of the many kids there. He was dressed in Friars’ gear, and star struck by his idols. It was his first time meeting any MLB player face-to-face.
“It’s incredible because I've never got to see them before in person, I've only seen them on camera and during their interviews and stuff like that,” the young boy said in Spanish.
Back in San Diego, the Padres superstars have much of the same draw for young Latino and Latina ballplayers.
Chula Vista American Little League’s Ramon Bonia is a Dodgers fan, but his dad was born in Tijuana. So he looks up to some of the Padres players as well.
“I think it's cool that they (the Padres) got Juan Soto last year and Josh Hader, and that Tatis finally came back. I think it's cool just to watch them play all together,” Bonia said.
Historically the Padres have had notable Mexican American stars like Adrian Gonzales, but this Padres team is a mix of players from different countries. Many of the players have roots in the Dominican Republic.
That's where Ramirez Cruz is originally from. He said the Padres are his favorite team, partially for the many players who come from his home country.
“I have always really liked the Padres team. They have a lot of good players and I would like to be a part of that team,” he said in Spanish.
While he wasn't able to go in-person, Bonia said he only would’ve changed one thing about the Mexico City Series.
“I think it would be better if it was Padres and Dodgers. Because the Dodgers are mostly kind of Mexico. They are near the Mexican border and so is San Diego,” the 10-year-old said.
Major League Baseball plans to go back to Mexico City in 2024 and 2025. It hasn't been announced if the Padres will play in either of those series, but their mark has been made: The team is inspiring young Latino boys and girls in both countries to chase their wildest dreams.