D-backs' Hispanic Heritage Day another success

The D-backs teamed up with Mexico's Liga Mexicana del Pacífico (Mexican Pacific League) on Saturday afternoon to treat their fans to a "fiesta" during the third annual Hispanic Heritage Day at Chase Field.

Randy Johnson Way was not only flooded with D-backs gear, but also with jerseys from teams such as the Naranjeros de Hermosillo, Águilas de Mexicali and Charros de Jalisco. Thousands of fans visited the stands from each of the LMP's eight teams and partied to live music, with games for fans of all ages.

"This is one of the most exciting and festive days of the year," D-backs senior vice president Josh Rawitch said. "We strive to bring the flavor from all these home countries to Chase Field with the food, the music, the dancers and the entire environment we are able to enjoy."

For Liga Mexicana del Pacífico president Omar Canizales, this event was part of a broader crossover effort to have baseball without borders.

"This is a source of pride and a big responsibility at the same time," Canizales said. "We are making a concerted effort to fortify our relationship with the D-backs and its fan base as well as turning Liga Mexicana del Pacífico fans into people who allow Mexico to embrace the D-backs more and more."

The roots of the franchise's Hispanic Heritage Day go back to 1996, before the team's inception.

"It all started in 1996, when we asked MLB to include the Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa in the team's territory," said Richard Sáenz, from D-backs Hispanic relations. 

Sáenz has been a great source of advice for D-backs president & CEO Derrick Hall as well as an outstanding ambassador every time the team goes south of the border for goodwill visits, announcements or games.

"We have fans that live in Mexico but are close by in places such as Culiacán, Nogales, Hermosillo and many others, and they travel to support us. [Hispanic Heritage Day] is a true success," Sáenz said. 

That success was also seen in Hermosillo earlier this week when Hall was joined by D-backs legends and World Series champions like Luis González and Erubiel Durazo to reach out to the community in Hermosillo and interact with kids from Liga Unison (Unison League) as part of a goodwill tour.

Fans like Javier Quiñonez, a Naranjeros diehard who moved to Arizona from Hermosillo 16 years ago, was at the HHD festivities to support both of his teams and hopes someday to see the next great D-backs player hail from his hometown.

"I came from Hermosillo when I was 6, but my love for the Naranjeros remains just as strong as my passion for the D-backs," Quiñonez said. "Two passions, one heart. That's what Hispanic Heritage Day is all about."

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