ST. LOUIS -- As big a hit as was Carlos Beltran's first "A Night in Old San Juan," this year's event will feature one notable change.
"Carlos will dance this time," promises his wife and co-host, Jessica Beltran.
Jessica Beltran was talking about the charitable endeavor recently after wrapping up the recording of a TV spot to promote the Aug. 11 event at the Four Seasons. Judging from Carlos' coy expression, he was not quite ready to commit to busting any moves.
But he was coming off a karoke performance with Jessica that had wowed all in attendance at an event two nights earlier.
Besides, if you are familiar with Beltran's largess, you know that he isn't the type to merely lend his name to a cause. Whether hosting a Puerto Rican-style party or overseeing his baseball academy, Beltran likes to be involved.
When home in Puerto Rico during the offseason, he says he spends time every day in his office at the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. If one of the students is not performing up to expectations in the classroom, he can count on hearing from the school's namesake.
"I will call him in my office, sit down and talk to him one on one," Beltran says.
Don't get the wrong idea. Beltran isn't there to beat anyone down. He wants to know about their problems so he can help.
"I don't want them to see me and go, 'Oh, no, it's Carlos, we gotta behave,'" Beltran says. "You have to do things the right way, but I want to be a friend. I want to be available. I want them to be happy. That is my main priority."
Beltran used a precious off day in June to fly home to Puerto Rico so he could attend the academy's first graduation ceremony. Less than two years after the academy held its first classes, Beltran handed out diplomas to each of the class of 44, exchanged hugs and shed some tears.
"A Night in Old San Juan" also will benefit the education of young Latinos, but those who reside in St. Louis. Beltran is planning to use proceeds to fund scholarships to be used at any school the recipients would like.
"I believe in giving," Beltran says. "We all should give a little bit to people who are in need of help. We had a great time last year and a lot of people showed up. This year we want to do it even better.
"You know what? If you are supporting a cause, you are allowed to have fun. When you leave the place, I want people to know that they helped and they had a blast."
Plenty of Cardinals and other assorted celebrities are expected to attend the Latin-themed gala, which will feature Latin dishes, wine tasting, music and dancing -- maybe even the dancing of Carlos Beltran.
Tickets cost 200, and sponsorships range from 2,500 to 20,000. Go to carlosbeltranstl.com or call 310-525-3755 for more information.
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