The Dodgers and The Cubanity

Disclaimer: This post contains an inordinate amount of selfie-type photos of me. Forgive me. I was so over-the-top excited about this night and being where I was and meeting who I met. It's a Cuban thing.

Imagine a stadium full of Cubans, all noisy and celebrating and munching on Dodger dogs. 


Picture them stopping to do the mandatory Cuban kiss thing.  "Oye! Hace tiempo!" Picture them talking loudly and laughing and sharing pastelitos de guayaba right there in the stands. 


Picture them dancing wildly when the Dodgers score.


Well, technically, they were already dancing, because Cubans, but that's not important right now.

Those were the sights and sounds of Cuba Night at Dodger Stadium on Monday, May 11th. 

As part of the Cuban Heritage Committee it was my great honor to help organize this fun event and work hand in hand with the Dodgers.

We were asked to "Please arrive at least an hour before the 7:10 game time."


Cuban Heritage Committee members -Frank Navarro, Rose Marin, Alina Bacallao, Betty Porto, Maylen Calienes, Marta Darby, Marislay Cedeño, Lucy Vega, Roland Vega

 These instructions seem simple enough, but I live over an hour south of LA, two if there's traffic, which means we had to leave a few hours before. Which meant that if I hoped to arrive at 6pm, we had to leave at 4pm.

Miraculously we did not encounter much traffic at all and flew up to Dodger Stadium in record time. and arrived before they were even letting people in. (Win!)

Amy and Jonathan drove with me while Lucy and boyfriend, Marc took the train. My sister, Alina would just meet us all there.



Things that are cool about entering Dodger Stadium via the Club Entrance:

1) That's where all the retired jerseys live. Of course, you recognize #42, the incomparable Jackie Robinson. How cool is that?


2) That's where real-life-Dodger-legends enter the stadium. Like legendary Dodger manager, Tommy Lasorda. I went full Fangirl on poor unsuspecting Tommy. Because...hello! Tommy Lasorda!


3) The First Pitch Thrower Outers also come in the Club Entrance. And because it was Cuban night, the first pitch for the event was thrown out by our own local Cuban legend, Mr. Andy Garcia. You will obviously understand the crazed Look-How-Close-I-Am-to-Andy-Garcia look on my face. 


The game hadn't even started and I was already crazy-happy. But then, the Dodgers were going to introduce some of us on the Cuban Heritage Committee, which meant we got to ACTUALLY BE DOWN ON THE FIELD. Somebody pinch me.


So, I'm all nutty and excited while our "handler" and Dodger PR liaison, Sammy is trying to get us all in formation for a very public introduction. And we're all "Guys! Oye! We're on the field! How accidentally cool is this?" and we're all taking selfies and being all distracted and being Cuban and waving at everyone. 

And poor Sammy was mildly frustrated with us in a "this is like herding cats" way. But, no. It was like very much "herding Cubans" which comes with its own set of frustrations, but that's not important right now, either.

We finally get introduced while standing on the field in complete awe of the moment. Here's the video to prove that it happened.

My kids took a photo of me on the Jumbotron. And I thought, "It just doesn't get any better than this!"


But it did!

The game itself was a little slow in the beginning, but trust me, it sooo got better.

By the 7th inning stretch the Dodgers were losing, but of course we were in full This-is-just-a-big-Cuban-party mode. Our friends at Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium captured all the awesome Cubanity as we stretched and sang along with Roly and Lucy Vega from Habana Brand Clothing

And then it was time for the Dance Cam Salsa. Of course we all got up and danced. Hello! Cubans!
Suddenly Lucy and Marc and Jon were up there dancing on the Jumbotron. 
Happiest. Night. Ever.
I know this has been all about us, but what about the Dodgers? Well, in the bottom of the 9th, Dodger Scott Van Slyke hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins. 
Pandemonium ensued. 
Crazy-happy-super-noisy-Cuban-WE-WON-in-the-last-play-of-the-game pandemonium. On Cuba Night. 
Oh, the Cubanity! 
Our next event will be Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, July 12th, 2015. Please follow Cuban Heritage Day on Facebook for news and updates.
It's not too soon to order your beautiful Dodger Blue Cuban shirts. from Habana Brand Clothing. Tickets will go one sale soon, so watch for those. Go Blue!
Cuban heritage day tshirts

Cuban Heritage Day - "Tremendo Vacilón"

The 2nd Annual Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium has come and gone and it was, by all accounts, a huge success. 

I'm still a little overwhelmed by all the fabulousness and fun of celebrating baseball and Cubanity(<--it's a word, right?) with my people. And it was the hottest stinking day of the summer in LA, so, if this is a little incoherent, please forgive me ahead of time. Still recovering from the heat.


Picture this: Cuban music playing (loudly) from the stage. Once a song starts, the smile of recognition quickly spreads across the faces. When the music plays, we must dance. It's in our Cuban DNA. We seriously can't help it. We spontaneously begin dancing with, and next to, and behind, and in front of whoever happens to be there. I so loved that.

Although many wore their tried and true Dodger Blue, many of us showed off the official shirt of Cuban Heritage Day 2014. Designed by the extremely talented Roly Vega of Habana Brand Clothing

I have it on good authority that these beautiful shirts (only $20!) are still available through the end of August. Please visit Habana Brand Clothing and place your order ASAP. 


It was a crazy-hot day in LA, but there were lots of fans (works on two levels) available to beat the heat provided by Café La Llave and a special one designed for the day by Habana Brand Clothing and our good friends from Wassup En LA. 


Part of the fun was wandering the stadium (in the shade, of course) and finding old friends, all of us flapping our fans to cool off in a modern version of what was probably a typical scene from Havana of the 50's. 


Rudolpho Zalez, Pritesh Shah, Carlos de la Vega of Wassup En LA?

Speaking of old friends, the first pitch was to be thrown out by Tony Plana, the very talented Cuban actor who played the dad on the hit TV show, Ugly Betty. Tony has had a distinguished and accomplished career. My favorite of his roles being "Jefe," from the comedy film, The Three Amigos, but that's not important right now.

It turns out that Tony's brother and I went to school together and I knew his family pretty well. "Tony, I'm Marta, from St. Augustine's..." I didn't get a chance to finish my sentence.


He grabbed me in a big Cuban hug of recognition. Made my day.


The Committee

It was my pleasure and privilege to serve on this year's Cuban Heritage Day Committee. What a delight it was to get to know the other Cubans involved in putting on this event and sharing our love of baseball and Cubanity (<--I'm pretty sure it's a word) with each other. I loved how everyone brought different skills and talents to the table. 

My friend, Lucy Vega, of Habana Brand Clothing, also brought red lipstick. I'm forever grateful. The beautiful blonde you see here is Rose Marin, head of the committee and the mastermind of this entire project. 


Lucy Vega, Marta Darby, Rose Marin celebrating red lipstick

The committee got to do a photo-op with Cuban Wonder Boy, Yasiel Puig. Or as our community refers to him, "Yasielito." 


I confess that I totally gave in to temptation and went in for the selfie. Guys... I had to.



I know. Shut up. 

Jonathan and Lucy (and friend, Nathan) happily partook of the Cuban Dogs. Picture a Dodger Dog, but with a Cuban sandwich twist to it: Ham, pork, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles. (For more on the awesomeness of Cuban sandwiches, see this post.)


Eric, who has been married to me for 22 years, held his own with all the Cubanity (<--I think it's a word now).


 To get all the info about next year's Cuban Heritage Day, please be sure to follow them on Facebook: Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium on Facebook.

It was a long, hot, wonderful day. The Dodgers eventually lost to the Brewers, but that didn't dampen our spirits. The day was a perfect celebration of all that is good and holy about Cuban baseball.

Here's a perfect recap by the talented and lovely, Ailis Garcia of Dodgers Nation

Pastelitos provided by Portos Bakery. Cafecitos provided by Café La Llave. First pitch and MY FAVORITE MOMENT provided by Tony Plana. Tshirts provided by Habana Brand Clothing. Fans provided by Wassup En LA? Dodger Baseball magic provided by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The rest of us? We brought the Cubanity. (<--word officially coined by me.)



photo credit: Lucy Vega


Cuban Heritage Day - Ticket Winner

As I'm writing this, I have "Take me out to the ballgame" playing in a loop in my head. I am anticipating the excitement of arriving at Chavez Ravine for the big day on Sunday.

From last year, I remember the awesome pre-game Viva Los Doyers party with the Charanga Cubana playing classic Cuban music. I loved being surrounded by all my Cuban people as they came to enjoy the music, the game, and especially the "Cubania." 


I can't wait to find our seats inside Dodger Stadium. I love looking around and seeing a sea of Dodger blue shirts. I'm so excited that one lucky MBFCF reader will join me and my family and all the rest of the Cubanity on Sunday, August 17th to cheer on our boys in blue (and expecially our home boy, Yasiel Puig.)

Congratulations to Daniel Swaby! He won this fantastic Dodger Gift Pack and the tickets.


Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 9.15.55 AM

I will need your shipping address ASAP so I can get those tickets and all the Dodger Goodies delivered to your door before Sunday. Please shoot me an email immediately with HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line. 

I look forward to meeting you and having you join us for the Best Cuban Baseball Party this year! 

"It's time for Dodgers baseball!" 

Cuban Heritage Day and the Dodgers - Stuff You Need

I'm still recovering from the LA Cuban Festival last weekend. Thanks to all of you who came out and said hello. Also, if you have a photo of us together (and we look cute), please send it to me! 

Today's post is really a PSA for Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium.

Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium is coming up next month on August 17th, 2014. I would love to see as many of you there as possible, which is why I'm sharing this today. I promise you won't want to miss it. In case you were wondering about my love for the Dodgers and last year's day, look here, and here.

(Also, if you want to read a really cute story about my mom, Luza and a former famous Dodger player (full disclosure: she's a Yankees fan), click here.)

Thing 1) You need tickets! Click on over to the Los Angeles Dodgers Page and order them today. There are some good seats still available. (I'll be giving some away in a couple of weeks, but that's not important right now.)

Thing 2) You need shirts! My good friends at Habana Brand Clothing have designed some gorgeous t-shirts, which you will want to wear to the game, beause that's what all the cool Cuban kids are doing. Pre-order is happening NOW. We need to represent, people! 



I'm loving these shirts so much that I'm thinking you're going to want one even if you don't make it to the game.I'm super excited about this day, because...

Cubans + Dodger Baseball = The Best Day of Summer 2014. See you there!

"It's time for Dodger Baseball!"

Los Angeles Cuban Festival - A Giveaway

Living in Southern California, it's sometimes difficult to find Cubans living nearby. Which is why I'm super delighted to be involved in this year's LA Cuban Festival. It's the very best place to celebrate all the things that we love most about being Cuban.

It's a wonderful event bringing together our people for a fun day of Cubania. There will be food, music, and all things Cuban. This pleases me greatly, because, as you know, I am always looking for the best places to get Cuban food in So Cal (but that's not important right now).

I'll be there with my family and my extended LA Cuban Family: the guys from Wassup En LA, the folks from Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium, and many more. 

The LA Cuban Festival will be held at

Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach, California, on Sunday, July 13th, 2014 from 10:00am to 8:00pm. 

If you haven't yet bought your tickets, I'd like to offer you some! If you'd like to go ahead and purchase pre-sale tickets on your own, please visit Fiestalegre Promotions.

LA Cuban Festival


The featured artists are:

  • Issac Delgado
  • Timbalive
  • Charanga Cubana
  • MC Paloma Morales
  • Super DJ Robby
  • DJ Warapo

You know you want to be there for all this awesome Cubanity. (<--that should be a word.)

Today's giveaway is sponsored by the LA Cuban Festival. Thanks, guys! 

To enter this drawing for Two Free Tickets to the LA Cuban Festival on July 13th, please leave a comment on this post and answer the following:

  • Where do you live in So Cal? 
  • Can you find Cuban food there? (This is important information to have, people!)

For an extra entry, go to Facebook and "like" LA Cuban Festival. Come back and tell me:

  • "I like the LA Cuban Festival!" 

Please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose one winner on:

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 at 8 pm PST.

I really want to see you there! Oh, the Cubanity!

Cuban Heritage Day At Dodger Stadium - A Winner

 What do I love more than Cubaneo*? I can't think of anything off the top of my head. (I know. However, the "husband and kids" answer is way too easy, but that's not important right now.)

(*Cubaneo is when a bunch of Cubans are together and trying to talk over each other. It's an amazing thing.)

We're going to the Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium on Sunday and I couldn't be more excited.

And we're taking a lucky MBFCF reader with us!

Amy jonathan dodgers

The winner of the Two Cuban Heritage Day Dodger Tickets is:

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 5.28.50 PM

Congratulations, Ileana! I look forward to having you join My Big, Fat, Cuban Family for all the Cubaneo and Dodger baseball.

Please send me an email with HEY MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line so that I don't accidentally delete it. Then I can connect with you and we can make plans. And we can wipe away tears together as Arturo Sandoval plays the National Anthem.

Okay, maybe you're not as sappy as I am, but still...

I promise I will most definitely buy you a Dodger Dog.

Go Dodger Blue!

If you are still interested in going to the game on Sunday, September 1st, but haven't gotten tickets yet, go to and use the promo code 13CUBA for exclusive savings.

Viva Los Dodgers - A Giveaway

 {Disclosure: This post is not compensated by any organization, nor affiliated in any way with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I, personally, just have some extra tickets that I'd love to give away.}

Cubans and Baseball. A Love Affair.

The Cuban love of the game of baseball is legendary. From the late 1800's when the Almendares began playing baseball in earnest, we Cubans embraced baseball as part of our own national identity.

Growing up in Los Angeles, I remember going to Dodger games with my brothers-in-law. They would bring transistor radios with them to the game so they could hear the legendary Vin Scully calling the play-by-play as they watched the game live.

Personally, I don't really enjoy watching baseball on TV, but a live game....The Best. Plus when we go watch the Anaheim Angels play at Edison Field, we get to wear red. (It's the little things.)

And my 99 year old mom? She still gets totally excited about the World Series every year. I know. Shut up.

So, last month my kids, Jonathan and Amy Kikita went to a Dodger game to watch Yasiel Puig play (also, we look really great in Dodger Blue, too), but sadly he had gotten hurt and it didn't happen. But they had a fantastic time sitting with a large group of noisy Cubans (is there another kind?) out behind right field.

In case you haven't been following the story, Puig defected from Cuba last year and started his rookie season this year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's young and brash and a little cocky and okay, maybe not too bright, but that kid can hit!

Viva Los Dodgers!

Amy hohneker jonathan darby dodgers

Anyway, the Dodgers are hosting Cuban Heritage Day next Sunday, September 1st at Dodger Stadium and we Darbys are all going to be there, because hey, it's Cuban. Heritage. Day. (Actually, for reasons unbeknownst to me personally, they're now calling it Viva Los Dodgers Day and I'm okay with that. The tickets still say Cuban Heritage Day, but that's not important right now.)

Viva Los Dodgers

There will be a pre-game shindig pachanga with the salsa band, Charanga Cubana and a meet and greet with another fabulous Cuban player, Paco Rodriguez.  The party starts two hours prior to the game 11:00 am where we will celebrate our Cuban culture and love of all things baseball with music, games and entertainment.

After the game, everyone is invited to stay to enjoy a special screening of the baseball movie The Sandlot. (The kid who played Benny in The Sandlot? Also Cuban. We're everywhere!)

My big, fat, Cuban family will be there all day on Sunday and we'd love to have you join us. I have two tickets to Sunday's game (in the Cuban section, of course) to give away to some lucky (?) reader.

If you live here in Southern California, or will be here next weekend and would like to hang with me and my big, fat, Cuban family at Dodger Stadium, here's your chance.

To enter this drawing for Two Tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers Viva Los Dodgers Day, please leave a comment on this post and answer one or both of the following questions:

  • Are you a baseball fan?
  • Which team is your favorite? (Note: Just saying "Dodgers" does not improve your chances of winning.)

Please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose a winner on Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 at 7:00 pm PST.

IMPORTANT: You must use a legitimate email address to comment and not just a Facebook link. I need to be able to contact the winner.

So, come on. Let's talk "beisbol."

Also, please just leave a comment only if you're interested in winning the tickets, any political comments will be deleted. Thanks.