League expands 2016 initiative Ponle Acento with special events, TV spots
By Daniel Kramer
Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that it will continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of initiatives and events showcasing the contributions of Hispanic and Latino players.
The campaign, an extension of Ponle Acento (Put an Accent on It), which launched in 2016, will run though the official Hispanic Heritage Month (Friday-Oct. 15), though clubs have been encouraged to celebrate throughout September. As part of a league-wide partnership, players will wear "Ponle Acento" T-shirts during batting practice for a selected game this month.
Other initiatives include a "PLAY BALL: Stickball" tournament in the Bronx on Sept. 23 in the street outside Yankee Stadium. Through collaborative efforts between the Yankees and the 161st Business Improvement District, youth participants from the New York Emperors Stickball League will take part in the modified game of baseball played with a broomstick and a rubber ball, a prominent pastime among Hispanic and Latino communities.
MLB has also launched a new video spot entitled "Imitacion," which features kids imitating some of the game's most prominent Latino players and their unique style and passion for the game. That is slated to air on ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS, MLB Network, MLB.com, PlayBall.org, TBS and MLB's social media platforms, and the Spanish version will be featured on CNN En Espanol, ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes and LasMayores.com, MLB's official Spanish-language website.
Clubs will also hold individual in-park celebrations throughout the month, with pregame ceremonies, theme nights and unique food options. The D-backs, Astros, A's, Giants and Mariners will wear special uniforms donning their Spanish team names. The White Sox plan to give away soccer-style jerseys to fans attending their Sept. 23 "Orgullo Sox" (Sox Pride) festivities. Besides the stickball tournament, the Yankees will celebrate with a variety of events both at and outside of Yankee Stadium.
Per MLB, there were 235 players on Opening Day rosters -- nearly 30 percent of the league -- that were of Latino decent. This month's celebration is an effort to spotlight their contributions for the next generation of fans.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.