PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks are starting a series against the Chicago Cubs Friday. It’s also the kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Weekend at Chase Field.
The team’s City Connect Serpientes jerseys are always a hit with fans. And not just in Arizona either according to Emilio Gaynor, who sits on the Los Dbacks Ambassadors Council.
"Even the other team's fans wear our Serpientes jerseys and shirts,” Gaynor said when 12News caught up with him at Chase Field.
The jerseys are inspired by the desert landscape. Gaynor said it also honors the deep roots Latinos have to Arizona and baseball.
"What the Arizona Diamondbacks have done through the Los Dbacks effort and through the efforts with the Hispanic community, is capture those fans."
The Los Dbacks Ambassadors Council helps the team build a relationship with different Latino communities.
"We have the Dominican community, the Cuban community, the Colombian community that not only do those countries produce incredible baseball players, but we have those communities here too," Gaynor commented.
About 8 years ago, Los Dbacks were instrumental in opening a space called La Terraza at Chase Field and it's a space meant to celebrate all Latin American cultures.
"All of the fans, everybody at Chase Field can come and experience the art, and the culture, and the food, and the music," Gaynor proclaimed.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Weekend, the first 15,000 fans inside Chase Field on Saturday will be given a Serpientes baseball cap.
Outfielder Alek Thomas has been making a splash this season
He's only 23 years old so there's lots still ahead of him but one thing he checked off his list was playing in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year.
12News talked with him and his dad about the experience. Thomas said it's something he’ll never forget for a few reasons.
For Alek and his dad Allen, baseball is the family business. Allen is the former Chicago White Sox Director of Strength and Condition. Alek grew up around baseball and quickly became a talent of his own.
Their worlds collided at the 2023 World Baseball Classic when Allen helped coordinate conditioning while Alek played for Team Mexico.
"Not too many people know that I'm Mexican,” Alek said.
Alek was born and raised in the United States but was eligible to play for Team Mexico through his mother. He decided to play for the team to honor his heritage.
Alek added it was, "…a chance to represent a side of my family that I don't really get a chance to show too often."
Both Alek and Allen shared a special moment during the WBC too.
"He stretched me out before the game and helped me out, whatever I needed so think that was cool to experience that," Alek said.
Alek hopes kids who see themselves in him will own everything about them that makes them unique.
"Don't be afraid to be who you are and, you know, speak up and be yourself," he offered.
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