Hispanic Heritage Day at Chase Field

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a strong connection with the community. Each season they go out of their way to recognize the diversity that makes up their fan base and tries to recognize that in one form or another.

This season the Diamondbacks have sponsored nights at the ballpark to celebrate the Jewish community as well as the Latter-Day Saint (Mormon), and Native American communities holding special nights and providing those groups with opportunities to buy discount tickets.

Tonight was another special celebration; Hispanic Heritage Day, which was designed to recognize the accomplishments, this group made to the community and to baseball. I was excited at the thoughts of this but slightly concerned.

With the introduction of SB 1070, Arizona’s new immigration law the summer has been filled with calls for boycotts and protests. The Diamondbacks have been especially susceptible, as groups have targeted the team.

Their reasoning had to do with Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick donating money to the Republican Party in Arizona that helped to elect officials who authored or voted for this controversial bill.

Add to this the fact that Arizona will host the 2011 MLB All-Star game and it makes the Diamondbacks a prime target for groups for and against immigration reform. It doesn’t seem to matter that the Diamondbacks are in no way connected to this legislation.

Reasoning and logic do not seem to matter when it comes to these public demonstrations. To the Diamondbacks credit, they have remained mum on the subject not taking any stance in the matter.

Immigration is not a subject best resolved on a baseball field. It is more appropriate for that to be done in the halls of government and the judicial system. So with the possibility of protest looming the Diamondbacks went ahead with this recognition day.

The team wore their black jerseys that they normally use for Saturday games at home. Rather than the traditional Sedona Red “A” logo, these jerseys said “Los D-backs”, a tribute to the Latino community’s importance to the game.

In the pre-game ceremonies the team had mariachi bands playing on the concourse and acknowledged those players within their organization and throughout baseball that made a difference.

For the most part the game went without incident. There were no protesters unveiling signs over the outfield walls and no one attempted to leap from the stands onto the playing field. Security had been increased but not to the point where it looked like a police state.

The stands were filled with a diversified crowd and all of them seemed to enjoy the game and the festivities that were occurring throughout the stadium in addition to that on the playing surface.

Outside there were a few protesters before the game but they quickly dispersed. Phoenix police along with Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies made sure no one felt uncomfortable beyond the unseasonably hot weather that Phoenix was having.

My hats are off to the Diamondbacks for sticking with their plans and recognizing an important part of our society and the accomplishments they have made on the field and off to making this a better place to live.

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