Comedian George Lopez paid heartfelt tribute Wednesday to longtime Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrín, who is set to be honored this week in Los Angeles after announcing his retirement last year.
In a poignant essay for Variety, Lopez reflected on how Jarrín’s Spanish-language broadcasts bolstered his love for baseball and helped bring his family closer. The longest-tenured broadcaster in Major League Baseball, Jarrín will soon bid his final farewell to the Dodgers after 64 seasons.
“Jaime Jarrín was your eyes and ears of a sport when you didn’t speak the language,” Lopez wrote. “He allowed you to understand it, he would tell you what he saw on the field and make you feel like you were there.”
The 61-year-old actor recalled attending his first game at Dodger Stadium as a kid with his grandparents, who “didn’t speak English well.” According to Lopez, everyone at the ballpark was listening to English-language broadcaster Vin Scully and Spanish-language broadcaster Jarrín call the game via transistor radios.
“For me, hearing Jaime Jarrín’s voice is equivalent to the smell of my grandmother’s cooking and the warmth of her kitchen,” Lopez continued.
“It’s a feeling that tells me I’m gonna be OK, no matter what else is going on. And like my grandparents, Jaime Jarrín’s voice has been there for me my whole life. Funny thing is, I came to prefer listening to Jarrín call Dodger games and my grandfather preferred to listen to Vin Scully. Back in the days when people thought that children should be seen and not heard, we didn’t talk much. But baseball was something we did together.”
Lopez is among countless baseball fans living in the United States and abroad who have come to know, love and depend on Jarrín as “the Spanish voice of the Dodgers.” Later in life, the sitcom star has even gotten to know Jarrín personally as a “truly special person” as well as a “talented broadcaster.”
“He’s got a bit of royalty to him,” Lopez wrote. “He always speaks to everyone with a lot of respect no matter who you are, but there’s a humor and a warmth there that he gives you from the beginning.
“It’s not something that you ever feel like you have to earn with him. He takes you in, he puts his hand on your shoulder. He talks straight to you. That’s so unlike a lot of the men that I grew up around.”
The Dodgers will give a warm sendoff to the Southern California icon Saturday during “Jaime Jarrín night” at the stadium before facing off against the Colorado Rockies. Read Lopez’s full appreciation for the sports legend here.