A call for the Washington Nationals to offer play-by-play in Spanish

WTOP is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. All this month, discover stories from the diverse Latino communities in the D.C. region, here at WTOP.com and on air at WTOP-FM.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, there is a call in D.C. for the Washington Nationals to expand their game broadcast offerings to include Spanish broadcasts on either radio or television.

Among those calling for the additional play-by-play is Albert Morales, of Woodbine, Maryland, a baseball fan who has spent his career working in politics in the D.C. region.

“D.C. is a melting pot” and the Latino population continues to grow in the region, according to Morales.

The demographic is also growing inside the world of baseball, with just over 30% of professional baseball players in Major League Baseball identifying as Hispanic or Latino. But many teams, including the Nats and even the Baltimore Orioles, do not provide radio or television broadcasts of games in Spanish.

“Baseball still remains very popular in Latino households, and that’s across the board,” Morales said. “It’s not specific to one any one nationality.”

Morales, who co-wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill on this very topic, pointed to the growing Hispanic and Latino fanbase of the L.A. Dodgers, which has Spanish language broadcasts.

The Nationals have at least 12 players that fall into the demographic and Morales believes more fans would follow the team if a broadcast in their native language were offered. He believes all teams in the league could benefit from the same.

“There’s Cubans, there’s Mexicans, there’s Venezuelans, Colombians, Dominicans, we cover the gamut. So, you really are touching all the bases,” he said.

WTOP reached out to the Nationals to see whether the team would consider adding Spanish broadcasts but did not receive a response. Jackie Harig, director of public relations for the Baltimore Orioles, did respond to the same question.

“It is something we are considering for the future,” Harig said in an email.

Morales said the Latino population in America also skews younger, which means, the investment by teams into the broadcasts could pay off in the long run.

“Chances are, they’re going to become loyal, not only fans, but you know, consumers of your products that you’re trying to market to this audience for many years to come,” Morales said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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