The Los Angeles Dodgers boast a rich history as a diverse franchise and have a fanbase to match that. It’s lent to players being viewed as much more than professional athletes, with Fernando Valenzuela the poster child for becoming a cultural icon.
While it has not been to the level of ‘Fernandomania,’ Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda are among those who have inspired similar followings and adoration. Now the torch has seemingly been passed to Alex Verdugo, who fully embraces his Mexican roots.
Verdugo has taken that to his walk-up song at Dodger Stadium, which is “Volver, Volver” by renowned Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez. Fans begin to swoon and cheer the minute it begins to play over the speakers, whether for the first time in a game or the fourth or fifth.
In an interview with Rowan Kavner of Dodger Insider, Verdugo explained the deep meaning behind selecting ‘Volver, Volver’ as his walk-up song and explained he enjoys hearing fans react just as much as they do the song:
“My dad used to play it when I was growing up; cleaning the house or really just being in the car with him, we’d listen to it. … I wanted to play it for him. I’m not always with my dad because I’m not home all the time. I play it for them, it reminds me of my family. Obviously, the L.A. crowd went berserk with it. It’s awesome. When I go to bat, I wish the announcers would play it even longer. You know what I mean? Just let me do my whole ritual, let me step out while it’s still going. Because the whole time [fans] are screaming. You get a little tingly inside, it kind of fires you up a little bit.”
Aside from endearing himself to the fans with his music selection, Verdugo has also done so with his play. He made the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster as an extra outfielder and bat off the bench but now is playing a more prominent role.
Verdugo began earning himself semi-regular starts and now is factoring into the picture in center field in the wake of A.J. Pollock undergoing elbow surgery that will sideline him at least into July.