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Pablo Lopez

Pablo Lopez enjoys Twins’ ‘Pablo Day’

Pablo Lopez shows Venezuelan pride

HOUSTON – When Pablo Lopez pitched in Class A for the Clinton Lumberkings, pitching coach Pete Woodworth and hitting coach Cesar Nicolas started spreading the word around the clubhouse saying ‘Oh, it’s Pablo Day!’ 

Woodworth, the current pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners, walked toward Lopez and told him ‘Hey, it’s your day. It’s your day.’ From the minor leagues to Miami to Minneapolis, Lopez was reminded every fifth day is “Pablo Day.”

The Minnesota Twins started promoting every start through social media. After the conclusion of the 2023 season, the Twins contacted Lopez and his family regarding “Pablo Day.” 

The Twins organization wanted to make the project something bigger within the community.

“They approached us with that unbelievable idea,” Lopez said. “We felt like it was something that we’d definitely like to do. We were very welcoming into the Twins community. We integrated ourselves, and it was such a good fit from the very beginning.”

Lopez, his family, and the Twins started brainstorming ideas for “Pablo Day.” 

Like King Felix

The native of Cabimas, Venezuela, was a fan of his countryman Felix Hernandez. Every time King Felix stepped onto the mound, Mariners fans were ready to erupt.

Fans who purchased a King’s Court ticket package were given a yellow t-shirt that displayed a No. 34. For every strikeout Hernandez tallied, the “King’s Court” held up a yellow poster with the letter “K” near the left field line at Safeco Field (now known as T-Mobile Park). 

Lopez and the Twins had a similar idea. They decided to have his own section, located in section 101 at Target Field, and a jersey add-on. The themed jersey reads “Pablo” in the front and “Lopez, 49” in the back. Moreover, the left sleeve shows the Twins logo, and the right sleeve presents the Venezuelan flag.

The colors of the themed jersey aren’t your typical Twins uniform. The yellow, blue, and red pays homage to his country of Venezuela. 

“It means the world to me,” he said about creating his themed jersey for Pablo Day. “My community back home is like the place where I’m from, my home country of Venezuela, like those are my roots. Any little thing that reminds me of where I come from, reminds me that when I put on this jersey I’m representing the Twins, the Twins community, but also I’m representing an entire country. 

“There’s kids where I grew up that look up to me, and just any little thing that makes me think of home, it’s just like man I have to make this worth it. I have to put on my best effort, I have to make sure that I’m doing everything that I can to do a good job.”


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Lopez all in for ‘Project Success’

Pablo and his wife, Kaylee, made the initiative to be active in the community. The Lopezes chose three local nonprofits that hold a special meaning to their hearts. Children’s Minnesota, Ruff Start Rescue, and Project Success.

Kaylee was a fourth grade elementary school teacher, and Pablo comes from a family with an educational background. Project Success looks to motivate and inspire students to dream about their futures, help them create a plan to get there, and give them the tools and support they need to achieve their goals. 

For every fan who buys a ticket package, they receive a jersey, sits in section 101, and a percentage of the money they spend goes to the three nonprofit’s the Lopezes have chosen. 

Lopez has struggled in the first half of the season. The Twins’ ace holds a 8-7 record with a 5.18 ERA, and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). In addition, the 2023 All-Star ranks fifth in strikeouts (116) among the American League.

“Determined to bounce back”

Lopez, 28, is determined to bounce back in the second half of the season.

“I feel like he’s the ace of this team,” Twins’ catcher Christian Vazquez said of Lopez. “We always have an opportunity to win the game with him on the mound. I’m never going to doubt him. He’s a great person, a great worker, and I think he’s gonna be better in the end of the year.”

Pablo Day is still alive and exhibited at Target Field. Every time Lopez takes the mound, he takes a moment to soak it all in. 

A kid from Venezuela never thought he would have the opportunity to have a devoted section dedicated to him. 

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” Lopez said. “It’s cool you know I used to fantasize about that stuff, I used to admire it when I would see those guys. It felt so distant when I would see those things when I was either growing up or in the minor leagues, and now like having something similar in a way it’s really cool. 

“When I’m warming up they’re (fans) saying hi. I usually throw them a ball after each inning, and I take a look and they’re all there. There’s people showing up with the Venezuelan flag. It’s really unique and it doesn’t feel real yet.”

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