April 10, 2001

America's national pastime, baseball, is a hit around the world. But it's hotter than a jalapeño in the Caribbean, and in South and Central America.

On Cinco de Mayo eve, Verizon Long Distance recognized the contributions of the growing cadre of Hispanic baseball players in the U.S. by honoring 19 Hispanic Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox players and coaches during a special pre-game ceremony at the Ballpark in Arlington. Juan Marichal, the first Hispanic and only Dominican Republic native named to the Baseball Hall of Fame, also will be on honored for his special place in baseball history.

"Verizon Long Distance wants to acknowledge the important role that Hispanics have played in improving the game and building our Texas Rangers team," said Ed Miller, director of international and ethnic marketing, Verizon Long Distance. "We are thrilled to have Juan Marichal join us for the recognition ceremony. The game is a double-header for us, allowing us to support current, past and players-to-be through the Ranger Foundation's baseball camps while we also help three deserving youngsters with some college costs."

During the pre-game festivities, Verizon Long Distance awarded $1,000 college scholarships to three Sunset High School seniors -- Perla Bernal, Gabriela Ortiz, and Michelle Rodriguez. The students are winners of Verizon Long Distance's "Excellence in Communications," essay contest. The students wrote about how technology can improve and impact their lives.

In addition, Verizon Long Distance donated $5,000 to the Texas Rangers Foundation and will give away a special "Héroes de Béisbol" (Baseball Heroes) commemorative poster to everyone attending the game.

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