Milwaukee Milkmen celebrate Hispanic heritage as 'Los Lecheros”

NOW: Milwaukee Milkmen celebrate Hispanic heritage as ’Los Lecheros”

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FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The baseball team The Milwaukee Milkmen became Los Lecheros de Milwaukee for the first time this season. It's all part of a celebration of Hispanic Heritage.

About 30% of baseball players in the MLB are Latino. That number only keeps growing, just like the Latino population in the U.S. and Wisconsin. To celebrate that culture, the Lecheros honor our heritage and traditions during several games of their season. It's something that brings many players and residents a sense of their home countries from right here in Wisconsin.

The Milkmen's outfielder is Bryan Torres, from Puerto Rico. He said, "for me being here in the U.S. and representing the Latino culture, it's a source of pride. As much for Latin America as it is for my parents, to represent those roots and where I come from. For me it's very special and I think well - give it your best, no matter what night it is... what matters is to go out and enjoy it and give it 100%."

Miguel Gomez plays second base for the Lecheros. Previously, he had played for the San Francisco Giants. He says that being Latino in baseball brings a different dynamic, "you always know that we bring the joy, the language, that we bring the picadilla as we say. Always playing the hot ball, which is what we live for the most. Always playing ball with joy, enthusiasm, with dedication."

In addition to having a Latino night and Latino players, there is also a new Latino coach from Venezuela: Jose Rodriguez. He says being able to communicate in a unique way can be a game changer. "There are a lot of teams that are here and not many Latino coaches. I think it's a privilege and a great opportunity. I think that's the most important thing. To be here and to be able to take the name of Latin America and highlight it."

For the second time in just three years, the Milwaukee Milkmen are in the championship of the American Professional Baseball Association. To be a baseball star, it takes a lot of effort and time - especially to be able to properly represent our Hispanic heritage.

"At the end of the day when you don't have a lot of experience, you try to be perfect, but nobody in life is perfect. My advice to the kids is to stay positive, never give up, and especially at this level because you never know who is watching you," Rodriguez said.

When it's time to play, the players not only run for the team but also for those young fans who support the players. Torres explained, "it's an American sport, to be able to represent it on a Latino night is very important for us and for the Latino fans, the Latino kids that always see us. I always go out on the field and do my best for that kid to see me play and for him to leave the stadium satisfied."

Los Lecheros games serve as more than just fun; they also serve as inspiration. "If we're here, someone else can do it and be able to make it too, that's the goal," Rodriguez said.

Next year, the Lecheros will participate in the Copa de Diversión, a minor league series that embraces and values Latino culture in our communities.

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