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La Liga de Las Americas

Viva Cleveland con Cleveland Indians

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Cleveland Correspondent

Cleveland Indians partnered with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and La Prensa Newspaper to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Jacobs Field on Friday, Sept. 14, 2007.

“Viva Cleveland is the kick-off event for Hispanic Heritage Month and we are trying to make it bigger each year,” said Margarita Escobar, representative of the Cleveland Indians. More than 200 people gathered to enjoy the pre-game entertainment; music, salsa lessons and exciting raffle prizes from Corona. D.J. Danny Vey kept salsa instructors Carlos Cruz, Margie Colón, and Escobar busy on their feet with reggae, bachata and merengüe rhythms.

Travis Hafner with Jerry Lawler

Rita Ortiz needed no lessons and gave the pros tough competition with her smooth baile moves. “I love my Latino music, the rhythm moves every inch of your body!” Ortiz brought her friend and niños to enjoy the pre-game entertainment and an exciting game against the Kansas City Royals.

The Indians won 5-4, with a finale home runner from Franklin Gutiérrez. With 12 games left in the regular 2007 season, seven games are needed by the Cleveland Indians to clinch the Central Division of the American League—the Indians are in first place, with a record of 88 wins and 62 loses as of Sept. 17. The Detroit Tigers are 5.5 games behind.

Viva Cleveland was the ideal time to honor Roberto Clemente Award nominee Travis Hafner for his community and humanitarian involvement, sportsmanship, and contributions to the sport and his team.

“It is a great honor to be nominated,” said Hafner who has agreed to donate $500,000 to Cleveland Indians Charities through 2012. Hafner is involved with Cleveland Indians Charities, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, the Animal Protective League, and Beech Brook the designated beneficiary of his nomination.


Rain tarp being removed

“We have great Latino players on the team and it is always great to have fans come out and support us,” he said. Hafner was one of the 30 nominees for the Clemente award. This is the first year fans can vote for the winner online and enter a chance to win 2 tickets for Game 3 at the World Series 2007.

Jhonny Peralta, a Dominican Republic native, was thrilled to hear about Hispanic Heritage celebration. “Latin people need to get together and celebrate,” he said. Peralta said the sounds of Latina music during practice really energized him and he hopes the Latino community would be more active in supporting the Cleveland Indians.

Nearly 1,400 tickets were sold by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at discounted prices of $9 and $5.

Carlos Cruz and Margarita Escobar

Margie Colon and Carlos Cruz


Rita Ortiz






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