Celebrity Softball Game Hosted by José Berríos and Vlad Guerrero Jr.

, and I’ve enjoyed the impact we’ve made on those kids. It was incredible. So to now host an event myself, I feel very proud. I hope these kids enjoy this experience and the opportunity to meet us and ask questions so they can make their future better.”

Berríos’ first big charity event took place at a stadium named after Clemente, whose legacy is that of an ultimate humanitarian. The Hall of Famer is a major inspiration for Berríos’ desire to give back. “We all know Roberto Clemente and his beneficial labor,” Berríos said. “I never watched him play, but my dad told me stories and showed me videos. Growing up, I saw what Carlos Beltrán and Yadier Molina did and are still doing for the youth. They motivated me. I understand that I need to continue setting that bar, and that’s why we are here today.”

Molina, who annually held a celebrity softball game and home run derby at Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan over the past decade, stood inside the home dugout, proud of the tradition being kept up by Puerto Rico’s next generation. “He’s following in our footsteps,” Molina said. “Berríos is from my town and very humble. He did all of this out of his heart so the people could have a day of entertainment with their whole family and watch big names of Major League Baseball. I’m happy for him, and hope to see him continue following those steps.”

To help amplify the event, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and his VG27 Foundation, which also focuses on helping kids through sports and education, partnered with Berríos as a co-host. Together, the Blue Jays teammates assembled stacked rosters on both Team La Makina and Team Vladdy, featuring Major League stars such as Julio Rodríguez, Edwin Díaz, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baéz, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Eddie Rosario, and Jose Miranda. Other celebrities included Latin musicians Jowell, Nio García, and Miky Woodz, as well as Puerto Rican boxing champion Amanda Serrano.

Team Vladdy defeated Team La Makina, 14-9, in five innings. The main event was the derby, which saw Guerrero, the reigning MLB Home Run Derby champion, win on his final swing of the contest in a swing-off against Cleveland Guardians Minor Leaguer Jonathan Rodríguez. Guerrero’s victory was followed by him getting mobbed at home plate and a live band performance to cap the celebration. Proceeds from the event benefited both Berríos’ La Makina Foundation and Guerrero’s VG27 Foundation by supporting community initiatives in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. “This is very special for me,” Guerrero said. “When you talk about teammates, you’re talking about family. When [Berríos] asked me in June, I told him of course I would do it. When it comes to someone like José Berríos, I’m always going to say yes.”

Berríos is no stranger to philanthropy. He collaborated with teammates on relief efforts for Hurricane Maria in 2017 and has worked with Hogar de Niños Forjadores de Esperanza in Bayamón to help provide kids in school with tutoring, as well as partnering with Baéz to help raise funds for child cancer patients through the CAP Foundation. Saturday night, however, was the first event that Berríos truly could call his own. It also likely will not be his last. “I’ve always liked to help people,” Berríos said. “I have a passion for helping young kids, so doing this is easy for me. … That’s what motivates me, always getting involved to help other people.”

In conclusion, José Berríos and Vlad Guerrero Jr. have set the stage for future events of this kind. Their commitment to community and young aspiring baseball players is invaluable, and is sure to inspire a new generation of Major League players who understand the importance of giving back to their community.


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