For Jenni Rivera, Dodgers Stadium felt “like home.”
In an interview at the stadium, where she sang the national anthem and “God Bless America” on the Latino-themed Viva Los Dodgers Day last summer, the L.A.-born and Long Beach-raised Regional Mexican star remembered picking up aluminum cans outside of the stadium with her brothers as a little girl, to exchange for money to contribute to the family household.
“I used to sing [the “Star-Spangled Banner”] at school, but could never have imagined singing it here — it’s such a prestigious place,” she said. “We’ve always been Dodgers fans, so it’s beautiful.”
When asked about her favorite players, Rivera named Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Mike Scioscia, and Davey Lopes.
“I’m old school so I go way back to the eighties, like ’84 to ’89,” Rivera said. “So those are my favorite years back then.
“Later on I happened to marry a Dodger, Esteban Loaiza, so I guess that’s pretty good history for me,” she added, laughing. Rivera was married to Dodgers pitcher Loaiza in 2010. They divorced earlier this year.
During her August 26, 2012 appearance at Dodgers Stadium, Rivera also joined the Dodgers Spanish-language radio broadcast with Hall-of-Famer Jaime Jarrín, baseball commentator Pepe Yñiguez, and legendary Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela on air for one inning.
“Jenni was superstar, a businesswoman and a beautiful human being,” said Jaime Jarrín, after hearing the news of the fatal plane crash. The commentator, known forover 50 years as “the Spanish voice of the Dodgers,” first met Rivera when she was a teenager. Her father, Pedro Rivera, used to bring records from his label, Cintas Acuario, for Jarrín to play on a music show he hosted on Los Angeles’ KWKW. Jenni came along.
During her August 26, 2012 appearance at Dodgers Stadium, Rivera also joined Jarrín, baseball commentator Pepe Yñiguez, and legendary Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela on air for one inning.
“She had matured so much – she was a complete woman,” Jarrín recalled. “She knew all the players,” he added. “She was very happy at the ball park.”
Watch Rivera singing the national anthem at Dodgers Stadium above.