On the last Sunday of each month of this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers will host a “Viva Los Dodgers” celebration before the game. In the two hours before the game, families can enjoy live music (including mariachis), food, car shows, and sometimes autographs for their favorite players.
The Dodgers organization has a complicated relationship with the Mexican-American community in the city. Dodger Stadium is located in Chavez Canyon. This is once “One of the largest and most important Mexican communities in the Southwest.” However, in the 1950s, the city of Los Angeles forced the residents of Chavez Canyon to relocate to the public housing project under construction at the time, paying up to half of the value of their property. Although the community was not destroyed for the construction of the Dodger Stadium, many displaced people vowed never to support the team.
When Fernando Valenzuela, a 19-year-old boy from Echowaquila, Sonora, Mexico, arrived in Los Angeles in 1980, things changed. As the future Cy Young award-winning pitcher, Valenzuela was playing in a small baseball league in Mexico, but was accidentally discovered. Scout for the Dodgers. He is the youngest of 12 children. He grew up on a ranch in northern Mexico and did not speak English when he arrived. His story has something to do with the Mexican-American community. When the Dodgers won the World Series in 1981, it was largely due to Valenzuela’s pitching and the tide changed.
As of 2017, the Dodgers Has the largest Latino fan base of all sports teams. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the “Fernandomania” boom, and the history of the Chavez Canyon is once again In the news.
It is in this context that the stories of Joe Kelly, Mariachi Jackets and the White House have greater significance.
On Sunday, June 27th, the Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar band appeared at the Dodger Stadium to perform the national anthem as part of the “Viva Los Dodgers” celebration in June and played for them during the warm-up period, which surprised the team. Pitcher Joe Kelly asked trumpeter Grover Rodrigo if he was interested in the trade-his game jersey was a Mariachi jacket customized by Rodrigo. Rodrigo agreed, and the two exchanged in the bullpen.
At the time, Rodrigo told NBC-LA:
“Really glad he kept his promise. I have a little doubt, but I am glad it happened. I hope he cherishes his jacket as much as I cherish his jersey.”
Fast forward to Friday morning. The Dodgers played a series with the Nationals in Washington, DC, and they visited the White House to win the title of the World Series.
Joe Kelly has one of the most unique jackets-Rodrigo’s. He shared a snapshot before the ceremony:
— Phyllis (@billie0043) July 2, 2021
Third baseman Justin Turner (Justin Turner) shared a photo of the two on his Instagram account.
Kelly’s actions excited Dodgers fans, some of whom pointed out that this is not a Mariachi jacket, but a Charo jacket, which is equivalent to a tuxedo jacket.
-Mario Lopez (@mariolopezviva) July 2, 2021
He also gained some new fans-like this lady, she is a fan of the San Francisco Giants and is currently the season ticket holder for the Seattle Mariners. Many people think that Kelly has received a long-term invitation from any carnival or Carne Asada near them.
Joe Kelly is always invited to any carnival or Asada carnival in my house. I said this was raised as a Giants fan, he is the current Mariners season ticket holder. Jose Kelly is our new partner. https://t.co/wVhpRLE56t
-Pearl (@pxcaballero) July 2, 2021
Grover spoke with The Athletic late Friday and shared more details about how they ended up playing for the team and the deal with Kelly.
Five days ago, this Mariachi jacket appeared in Grover Castro’s wardrobe in Los Angeles.
Today, Joe Kelly wears it in the White House.
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) July 2, 2021
As a lifelong fan of the Dodgers, this makes my face filled with a big smile-even though Kelly has been somewhat affected by the “cultural misappropriation” of those who judge him only by his name, without realizing his Mother is Mexican American. Kelly was no big deal about wearing this jacket to the White House, nor did he launch a public relations campaign to point out that he was paying homage to Mariachi culture and the history of Los Angeles. He silently paid tribute to this culture and provided the 23-year-old trumpeter with an unforgettable experience.