More than three decades ago, Salvadore Esquivel traveled to the area for the first time to attend the Little League Baseball World Series. There was only one problem - he had no place to stay.
Esquivel was not aware that reservations needed to be made for lodging. When he got here, he found himself without a bed in which to sleep, and wound up staying at the YMCA for 35 cents a day.
Eventually, he was able to find a room at the Genetti Hotel, and has roomed there every year since.
Salvadore Esquivel sits in the lobby of the Genetti Hotel Thursday after he arrived for the 63rd annual Little League Baseball World Series. Esquivel has been coming to the Series for 30 years, and Monday is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch when Mexico plays Europe.
His long relationship with the hotel and its employees will lead to another Series milestone for Esquivel Monday as Mark Schefsky, general manager of the hotel, arranged for Esquivel to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mexico-Europe pool play contest.
Esquivel's parents migrated from Mexico, and he always roots for the Mexican team. It was a profound moment for Esquivel, as he still cannot comprehend the monumental moment, according to his son, Ray Esquivel.
Esquivel grew up as one of 15 children in a family with limited income. Therefore, his dream of traveling to the World Series needed to be put on hold until he could afford to make that dream a reality.
Esquivel always has loved baseball. Now that he is retired, he has the luxury of soaking up as much of the sport as he can.
"I watch the baseball games almost every day. I have nothing else to do now," Esquivel said.
Growing up, he played second base. He used that knowledge later in life as he coached each of his four children's baseball teams and also was the chief umpire.
When asked what his favorite part of the Series is, he simply said, "the kids."
"There are times I would take off and leave him in the stands and I come back and he's over there with all kinds of streamers with a bunch of kids around," Ray said.
Esquivel will stay for the duration of the Series. Whether he will be able to return again is unclear, as health issues may make future trips more difficult. These days, Ray needs to travel with his father.
"Last year was supposed to be his last. One day he called me and said 'I have tickets for the Series,' " Ray added.