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The Universe Giving Julio Rodríguez What He Asked For – LatinoMVP Award

Julio Rodríguez interview with Latino Sports during 2022 All-Star Media Day - Image Credit: Latino Sports

SOUTH BRONX, NY — Last year, 2022 I had a chance to talk to Julio Yarnel Rodríguez, AKA J-Rod during the All-Star Media Day in Los Angeles, California when all the participating players to the All-Star game are brought out to talk to the press. Each player had their own cube with a table with their name and in uniform ready to take on the onslaught of questions from the different reporters and press agencies. It was a circus as reporters scrambled to try and get to the players that they wanted to interview first.

The scene reminded me of New York’s Grand Central station during rush hour when thousands of passengers are running in every direction to catch their train. It’s an organized chaos. Being familiar with “organized chaos”. I simply walked around, listened from the back of the five – six deep reporters trying to ask questions to the most known superstars. Sometimes I patiently waited until the circle of reporters lessened and I then would try and get a question in. I did this with a few who I knew and who would recognize me like Albert Pujols, Aaron Judge, JD Martinez, and Miguel Cabrera.

After those interviews, I had enough of the media circus and decided to leave. On my way out I saw the table and the sign that read, “Julio Rodríguez”. I remember reading about this young rising superstar who was invited to the All-Star game in his first season in the majors. His table and area were practically empty, I believe that there was one, or two reporters interviewing him.

I walked over to hear the questions and was impressed that he spoke English fluently and handled himself quite well for a rookie in his first All Star appearance. When they left, I introduced myself and said we were “Tocayos” (that’s a word we have in Spanish when two people have the same name). He smiled and I told Julio that I was from Latino Sports where I had just interviewed several Latino players (Pujols, Cabrera, JD Martinez) who had been previous winners of the oldest and most prestigious award given to Latino baseball players, the LatinoMVP award. I explained the history of the award, what it entails, how players are nominated and the actual award itself being a one-of-a-kind drawing and a full watercolor painting.

Maz Adams, Jonathan Loáisiga and Julio Pabón presenting the LatinoMVP award in 2022 – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Julio was impressed upon hearing of the LatinoMVP award. So, my questions were not the same questions that he had been hearing all afternoon. I asked him what did he think of an award given exclusively to Latino baseball players? He was fascinated knowing about the award given exclusively to Latino players and agreed it was a good idea. I then told him that judging by the way he had started the season and that he was invited to the All-Star game I predicted that he would be a future winner of one of the awards.

Julio Rodríguez in 2022 Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

He smiled and said that for him winning the award would be like winning in the World Series. We both laughed, I wished him well and told him I looked forward to one day awarding him in front of his home crowd.

Our predictions were on target as Julio went on to win the AL Rookie of the year. As such, he also won the 2022 AL LatinoMVP Rookie of the year award as well. The universe has brought that moment to fruition. However, he will not be getting his awards in front of his hometown fans, but in front of the Latino press here in New York.

Unfortunately, we never heard from the Seattle Mariners for our request to award Julio in September when we award all the players as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. (They were the only team of the eight that have winning players that we did not hear from). Thus, as the saying goes, “the show must go on” and the 33rd annual tradition will continue as we will give Julio his hard-earned awards tomorrow, Saturday sometime during, or before batting practice in Citi-Field where the Mariners are visiting to play the NY Mets.

In our thirty-three-year history we in Latino Sports have been used to overcoming obstacles and difficulties in keeping to our mission of promoting our Latino athletes and our message, It’s About Us, It’s About Time!

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  1. Michelle Davila

    September 1, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    As one of the relatively few Latinos in Seattle this makes me so proud – He is an amazing athlete and his positive attitude shines through. Thank you for recognizing him and showcasing Latino talent as you have for over 3 decades!!

  2. Blanca Canino Vigo

    September 1, 2023 at 9:10 pm

    A great article about Julio Rodriguez from the Mariners. As Latino Sports predicted Julio Rodriguez will be a winner of the Latino Sports award, the most prestige award given to latinos athletes.

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