LOS ANGELES — As the Los Angeles Dodgers punched their ticket to the World Series Thursday night, the mother of one of the game’s biggest heroes watched the game from a television set hooked up to a generator in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, he said.
Dodgers player Enrique “Kiké” Hernandez has been a huge voice of support for his homeland in the weeks since Hurricane Maria tore through the island, and though his family was able to evacuate in the days following the storm, they have since returned.
Hernandez told the MLB Network he got to check in with his mother Monica Gonzalez via text before the game.
“She said, ‘I’m going to your grandparents’, they got the generator going and we’re going to power on the TV and we’re going to watch that game,” he said.
And honestly, her decision was partially based on superstition.
“I saw the game at home last night and you guys lost, and the game I have watched at your grandparents’, you have won,” she told her son.
Hernandez then promised her he would hit a home run.
He ended up hitting three, including a grand slam. It was a historic performance that helped lift the Dodgers to a 11-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
It wasn’t the only victory of the night, either: As the Dodgers celebrated with champagne and handshakes, Hernandez’s Hurricane Maria Relief fund-raiser on YouCaring topped its $100,000 goal.
Puerto Rican MLB players have been vocal in their support of their homeland during these difficult weeks, and Hernandez has been right there among them, participating in fund-raisers, auctions and partnerships, and raising awareness on social media.
After his World Series-worthy heroics, he told reporters that being able to give his fellow Puerto Ricans something to smile about was one of the most important things about the game.
“This is about the only thing they’ve got going on for them right now,” he said. “For me to be able to give something for them to cheer about, even if it’s for three or four hours, however long this game was, that’s something I can’t put into words.”