On Wednesday, the Arizona Fall League held its first-ever Pride Night. The Salt River Rafter hosted the Peoria Javelinas and MLB VP and special assistant to the Commissioner, Billy Bean, for a celebration of baseball, diversity, and inclusion. Check out the video below:
Hispanic Heritage Month may be over, but the Copa de la Diversión is going strong! Last week, Ballpark Digestannounced its pick for its “2018 Best New Logo/Branding” award. According to the publication, the award “honors the team executing the best rebranding, from design to reception. [For 2018], There is one winner, with 33 different teams represented. Minor League Baseball’s Copa de La Diversión was an ambitious nationwide campaign and overwhelming success, earning our Best New Logo(s)/Branding of the Year citation.”
After three years of research, Minor League Baseball unveiled their year-long Copa promotion in March. Thirty-three teams participated, including Los Cangrejos Fantasmas de Chesapeake (Bowie Baysox). At the 156 Copa games played in 2018, average attendance was 4,857 per game, approximately 1,000 more per game than the typical MiLB game. Retail sales related to the Copa de la Diversión topped $3.5 million. And, yes, there will be a Copa winner. It will be awarded to the team “that best connected with its community.” The winner will be announced in December at the Baseball Winter Meetings.
In 2019, the Copa de La Diversión will expand to 72 MiLB teams – 39 new teams will join the 33 teams that participated this year. I certainly enjoyed meeting my team’s Latin players this year, and hope to do so again next year!
Hispanic Heritage Month is officially from September 15 through October 15. However, many MLB clubs have already begun the celebration. On Monday, MLB issued a press release on the activities they will host during Hispanic Heritage Month (I still want to know how I can get a Ponle Acento shirt):
In addition, voting is underway for the 2018 Robert Clemente Award, which is “bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.” You can vote at MLB.com/clemente21.
In a related note, last week, Bryce Harper wore specially-designed cleats in honor of Roberto Clemente Day. He also won National League Player of the Week last week. Just a coincidence?
This season, 33 minor league teams have been competing in the Copa de la Diversión – the Fun Cup. According to the MiLB website, this season-long promotion is “specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams’ local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities.” The campaign follows the 2017 marketing campaign, “It’s Fun to Be a Fan” (“Es Divertido Ser Un Fan”). It’s also an opportunity to sell cool Spanish-language merch and be silly in a whole other language.
There were 165 games this season designated as “Copa” games, so there is still plenty of time to catch one. I had the pleasure of attending the Cangrejos Fantasmas de Chesapeake’s (Ghost Crabs, aka Bowie Baysox) event on June 26. Players were announced in both English and Spanish, Latin music was played throughout the game, and the concession stand included tacos, nachos, yucca, frijoles, and plantanitos fritos.
Of course, this is in addition to the regularly scheduled Latino heritage nights that are found throughout both MLB and MiLB. Check out the list of remaining Latino heritage nights below – and definitely check out the Copa de la Diversión!
We may have missed Armenian Night at the Tigers, which happened July 7, but there are plenty of heritage and community nights left at ballparks around the country this summer. So, if you’re Greek, German, Polynesian, Nordic, Arab American, or a member, friend, or supporter of several other groups, you might want to mark your calendar for one of the nights below. In addition, in case you missed Pride Night at your local ballpark, there are two more scheduled for August: at the Cardinals (August 17) and the White Sox (August 31).
Later this week I’ll report on the remaining Latino nights, religious-themed nights, and, of course, bobblehead nights.