The Columbus Clippers, the minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, play in Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Students are invited for an evening at Huntington Park on Friday, where the Columbus Clippers baseball team will take on the Toledo Mud Hens. The invitation is an outreach effort from the Ohio State Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures to expose students to the diversity their community has to offer.

Estephanie Ortiz, program coordinator for the CLLC, said that CLLC looks to introduce students who are interested in or are currently studying multicultural topics to how their area of study holds importance in their local community through outreach events. 

Ortiz said the event, called Latinos at the Ballgame, was created in a new collaboration with the Clippers. This season, she said, the Clippers had a hispanic night.

“That’s how we got involved because they wanted us to kind of provide that connection to the student population,” Ortiz said.

Seeing Hispanic night as a point of emphasis this season, Ortiz said utilizing the theme would be a great way to market the event to Latino students and those studying Latin American culture. 

Rebecca Bias, assistant director of CLLC, said outreach events in past years were created to bring well-known speakers to Ohio State with whom students could converse in their native tongue. 

CLLC outreach events in the past have featured authors and sports figures at events where students could learn an array of topics, such as Tai Chi, a defense- and meditation-based form of Chinese martial arts.  

Bias said it was former office manager Karen Sobul who started organizing cultural outreach events, working alongside local sports teams, including the Columbus Blue Jackets.   

“Karen started the group, which was called the Czech Mates,” she said. “And they were a group of OSU supporters but also students who the Blue Jackets made a group of tickets available for.”

Bias said they worked together to create a section inside Nationwide Arena for the Czech Mates, where students as well as other community members would come not only to watch the game, but also to support the Czech players on the team. 

“They’d really be supporting those players,” she said. “They had the flags and everything.” 

Soon after, the Blue Jackets started holding meet-and-greet sessions after the games, so Czech Mates could have the opportunity to meet some of the Czech players, Bias said. 

Bias said that since Sobul’s departure, CLLC had not organized another outreach event with a local sports team until this past year, when the department was contacted by the Clippers.