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“To be selected to be on that ballot makes me proud, that’s another highlight for me.” – Yandy Díaz, a finalist for the AL LatinoMVP

Rays 1B Yandy Díaz proud to be named a finalist for the 2023 American League LatinoMVP award - Image Credit: Tampa Bay Rays

BRONX, NY — I recently went to Yankee Stadium, while the New York Yankees were hosting the Tampa Bay Rays to see Yandy Díaz, one of the finalists in our prestigious LatinoMVP awards for his 2023 season. Unfortunately, though I arrived at the stadium early to see Yandy, he was not in the locker room. I waited until they closed the locker room to the press and went outside to the dugout to wait. The Tampa Bay media head traveling with the team tried to get him for me. He came back and said that Yandy was in the gym and that he would not be coming out.

Yandy Díaz tosses ball to fans during 2023 MLB All-Star Game in Seattle – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

I realized this meeting was not going to happen. I thanked the media team for trying to help. I handed over the gift we had for Yandy and told them to give it to him with our regards. All the players who were candidates and were on the prestigious list received a commemorative and exclusive shirt made just for them. They accepted the gist and assured us he would get it and would send us a picture of him with the shirt when they returned home to Tampa. I left knowing that I did the best I could.

However, when I left the field and was walking through the ground level corridors near the visitors locker room, I saw that there was one person in the gym working out. As he was walking out, I yelled out, “Yandy,” and he turned and smiled. I quickly told him who I was and if I could have a minute with him. When he approached and I identified myself, he asked, if was the reporter asking for him. I smiled and said yes. He smiled, apologized, and explained that when he is in the gym, he just wants to concentrate on his workout and that he has been hitting the gym a lot.

I told him no problem and the fact that perhaps meeting this way was the way for us to meet. He laughed and agreed.

Image Credit: Latino Sports

I explained the history of the award dating back to 1989 when Rubén Sierra was overlooked by the BBWAA for the American League MVP. I explained that I and several Latino decided to give Sierra an award as we believed that Latino youth needed to see more Latino role models. I explained that the award we gave to Ruben Sierra in 1990 for his 1989 season was now the most prestigious award given to Latino baseball players and that we were now in our 34th year.

Yandy was very happy to hear of the origins of the award and understood its value.

The following is the short interview we had with Yandy

LS – Yandy, now that you know about the history of the LatinoMVP award, what are your thoughts?

YD – Nah, I just happy. Those who play baseball and those that follow baseball know that there are a lot of excellent Latino players and me to be selected to be on that ballot makes me proud, that’s another highlight for me.

LS – We have a gift for you and left it with your media folks. They will give it to you on our behalf. If you get a chance, we would love to have a picture of you holding the shirt this way we can promote it on our site with your comments.

YD – For sure, when I get the shirt, I’ll wear it with pride and you will get that photo.

LS – Thank you Yandy for taking the time to talk to me.

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