Event festivities were limited to pregame rituals. The portion of fans who could leave the office early on a work night to arrive by 7 PM were treated to the “National Anthem” sung by Joan Almedilla of “Miss Saigon” fame, and saw apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas toss the ceremonial first pitch. U.S. Navy Petty Officer Second Class Keith Guiang was recognized as a Military Hero of the Game.
With the Historic Filipinotown abutting Dodger Stadium, it is natural to expect a close relationship between the Dodgers organization and Filipinos in Los Angeles. Daisuke “Dai” Sugiura, in Dodgers Public Relations, stated, “Although we have done this special event for the past seven years, we do not have a very deep relationship with the Filipino community, unfortunately.”
Hanz Zalamea brought along his family of four and the Carson Hammerheads Little League team. He was there because Filipino Night “celebrates our heritage.”
Antonete Rivera and her boyfriend are big Dodger fans. “It’s so cool to have a lot of Filipinos at a baseball game,” she alluded to a circumstance nearly as rare as the aligning of stars.
This year, the Los Angeles Angels in nearby Anaheim did not sponsor any cultural heritage nights, but they get a pass for their recent addition of Fil-Am Tim Lincecum, two-time Cy Young Award pitcher, to the roster. Tim’s former team, San Francisco Giants, have two Filipino Heritage Nights scheduled for 2016. Even more impressive, the Giants donate a portion of ticket sales to local nonprofits. The same Giants who won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Coincidence or karma?
At the suggestion that Los Angeles, the American city with the largest Filipino population, should go above and beyond other teams, Dai explained, “We do not work in competition with the Angels or Giants on the events that Group Sales provide and our main goal is to bring the community together to bond of over Dodger baseball, and to enjoy an exclusive item (T-shirt) that is not a stadium-wide promotion.”
The T-shirts might be enough. Orlan Morales, Senior traveled 40 miles from Lancaster with Orlan Junior to their third Filipino Night. “I like it for the T-shirts,” said the father.
The San Diego Padres organization offended a vocal faction in the Filipino community for holding its Filipino Heritage Night more than a week before Philippine Independence Day on June 12th. The Dodgers held its night closer to Father’s Day.
Based on strong attendance each year, the Dodgers have no need to make an extra effort to sell tickets. But if the organization sincerely wants to bond with the Filipino community, officials might seek guidance from a local Filipino community organization like the nearby Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) to plan a bigger and better Filipino Night in 2017. A donation of game proceeds to a nonprofit would definitely help the community. One tip is to order more size small and medium T-shirts, since Filipinos, on average, are not large or extra-large.
It’s hard to tell whether Filipinos in Los Angeles have absolutely no sense of entitlement or all they need is love and togetherness. Those who stayed for the whole game were treated to a 3 to 2 Dodger come-from-behind victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the tenth inning. The extra inning gave fans in the Coke All You Can Eat Right Field Pavilion extra time to load up on Dodger Dogs. If the Dodgers didn’t plan that exciting ending, thank the Big Dodger in the Sky.
Anthony Maddela works for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles and covers Southern California for Positively Filipino. This might be the year for his Seattle Mariners, who have their own Filipino Heritage Night.
More articles from Anthony Maddela
UPCOMING FILIPINO HERITAGE NIGHTS
- Seattle Mariners Filipino Heritage Night (vs. Pittsburgh Pirates), 7:10 PM, June 29, 2016
- Oakland Athletics Filipino Heritage Night (vs. Seattle Mariners), 7:05 PM, September 9, 2016
- San Francisco Giants Filipino Heritage Night (vs. San Diego Padres), 7:15 PM. September 13, 2016
Check with your local sports teams for their Filipino Heritage Night.