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On Friday, August 19, the Detroit Tigers celebrated their 17th Annual ¡Fiesta Tigres! event—an evening to honor the contributions of past and present Latino players and coaches, while also celebrating Latin American culture. Prior to the evening’s events, the Tigers held a luncheon to celebrate Barbaro Garbey, a Cuban-born player and member of the 1984 Tigers World Series team.

The first 10,000 fans who entered Comerica Park received a ¡Fiesta Tigres! hat provided by Miller Lite. A Mariachi Gallos de Oro band and DJ Tony Toca performed around the stadium to set the tone for the evening, while select Latin American Tigers’ players signed pre-game autographs for fans. A special ceremony was held on the field prior to the first pitch to honor Garbey and current Tigers, who held flags from their countries of origin. 

For the first time in franchise history the game was simultaneously called in Spanish and English. The Spanish language broadcast aired on WSDS La Explosiva 1480 AM, with Carlos Guillén Altuve, Detroit Tigers’ Media Relations and Bilingual Coordinator serving as the play-by-play announcer, and famed broadcaster and Venezuelan journalist, Mari Montes providing color analysis.

“It was an honor to not only celebrate Latin American culture in baseball, but to participate in a Spanish broadcast with the Tigers, following suit of many other Latin broadcasters who came before us and broadcasted baseball in our native languages, among other MLB teams,” said Guillén Altuve. “To have Mari — who is not only a dear friend, but a monumental and impactful woman in her career — work with me side-by-side was special and will be an unforgettable experience.”

Mari Montes boasts a standout career in her profession—starting in Venezuela as a young baseball reporter, quickly earning her own radio segment, “Por la Goma,” then announcing for eight seasons with the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. She immigrated with her family to the United States in 2014 and began covering Major League Baseball in 2017 with the Miami Marlins. Since then, she has published multiple books and covered the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals. She now belongs to an exclusive list with eight other Venezuelans, as members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. 

“There are young journalistic communicators who [heard] me and saw that the barriers are falling, and doors are opening for us,” said Montes. “This is a commitment and a challenge for me to have been ready when the Tigers called; and this is a lesson to young journalists to keep preparing and don’t stop dreaming, because your dreams are possible when you work hard for them.”