Joe Maddon enlists Pujols to help Hazleton Latinos impacted by coronavirus

Joe Maddon’s hometown in Hazleton, Pennsylvania has been ravaged by the coronavirus, so he found a way to try to help.

Los Angeles Angels manager, Joe Maddon, asked superstar, Albert Pujols, and other prominent Latino baseball players to help his hometown curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. In a video message shared by the Los Angeles Times, Pujols, Carlos Pena and Tino Martinez make their case in Spanish and English to practice recommended safety protocols in response to the pandemic.

Maddon’s hometown in Hazleton, Pennsylvania has been deeply affected by the virus. According to the Hazleton Standard-Speaker, as of the middle of last week, about 1,000 people have tested positive for the virus in a town of just 25,000 residents. Roughly 88 percent of Luzerne County’s positive tests come from Hazleton.

One of the factors being cited for the staggering infectious rate of the historic coal mining town is a language barrier. Over 50 percent (52.3%) speak a language other than English, per the U.S. Census Bureau. Obviously, Maddon is hoping he can reach the Latino population with a message sent straight from the culture’s most popular baseball stars.

Hazleton might be a small town, but it represents an important location for food production. A meat-packing plant that helps stock supermarkets in Pennsylvania and nearby states was forced to close last week when over 130 workers tested positive for COVID-19.

Maddon has maintained an active presence in the community where he was born sixty-six years ago. He hosts an annual fundraiser for the Hazleton Integration Project, or HIP, that helps provide after-school programs for local youths. His most recent fundraiser was held in December, and was a giant success.

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As the new Angels manager waits for direction on the 2020 season, he continues to make his impact felt off the field. According to the Los Angeles Times, he recorded his video outside of the recreational vehicle where he has lived since baseball suspended operations on March 13.