Secada, Lovett perform in Game 4
Latino and Texan represent themes of the evening in Houston
HOUSTON -- Two Grammy Award-winning artists with completely different backgrounds will be front and center as they perform tonight at Minute Made Park.
Cuban-born, Miami-raised Jon Secada, 43, who has been at the forefront of Latin music since 1992, will perform the national anthem in conjunction with the Latino Legends ceremony that will go on before Game 4 tonight.
Houston native Lyle Lovett, 48, who is regarded as one of country music's most versatile singer/songwriters, will sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning.
For Secada, performing the anthem at the World Series has become old hat.
"I would say I have done at least six," said Secada. "It's always a treat. I've done it twice in Florida (1997 and 2003), I did it in Cleveland once, and my first was in Toronto in 1992. There's one or two more that I can't remember. It's always an exciting moment, it's always exhilarating. I feel honored and proud to be a part of Major League Baseball, doing the anthem, and this is a beautiful field and I'm honored to be here."
Secada, who left Cuba with his family when he was nine years old, grew up a Cincinnati Reds fan, idolizing the Big Red Machine of the '70s and especially Hall of Fame first baseman Tony Perez, who is now a close friend. Secada changed his allegiance to the Florida Marlins when they came into the league in 1993, and is rooting for the National League Astros, despite the team being down, 0-3, in the series. Secada's Latin roots run deep and to perform on the same night the Latin Legends are unveiled has a significant meaning to him.
"Tonight we are honoring Latino players, the legendary Latin and what we represent to this sport," said Secada. "The sport of baseball has come a long way in the Latin community, and this country has come a long way embracing all the wonderful ballplayers that are a part of the league, so it's wonderful to be Latino."
Despite his allegiance to the Senior Circuit, Secada says if the White Sox win the championship tonight, he will proudly share a cigar in celebration with fellow Cubans Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez.
"I'm very proud of Contreras and El Duque," said Secada. "They've been through a lot to get here and I know their history. It's all good, and at the end of the day -- it's all about the sport, of course, and I'm proud of what they've done."
Lovett is as Texas as you can get. The singer's great grandfather was the founder of Klein, Texas, where Lovett still lives. The singer/songwriter, who has won four Grammy Awards in his career, has been an Astros fan since they came into the league as the Colt .45s in 1961.
"I went to my first Colt .45s game when I was a kid," Lovett said. "I was there while they were building the Astrodome, and have been an Astros fan my entire life. This is just the most exciting thing that has ever happened."
Lovett has been honored to perform at Astros games over the years. He was actually the first person to perform the national anthem at Minute Maid Park in 2000, when it was called Enron Field. The singer was more than happy to take part in the World Series and sing a song that means a lot to himself and the country, as well.
"To sing 'God Bless America,' in my hometown, in front of a home Astros crowd, is just a real honor," Lovett said. "Just doing the sound check here a few minutes ago was touching and getting to be here, at home, getting to do something this important, is really a big deal for me."
Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.