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With Copa de la Diversión, MiLB Promotes the All-Inclusive Pastime

21 Mar, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Minor League Baseball is working to improve not only its bilingual abilities but its outreach with a new season-long program. And in this initiative is a game plan any event owner can get behind.

The tool it’s using: Copa de la Diversión," or Fun Cup, a season-long event series meant to embrace the culture and values of participating teams' local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities. It actually debuted last year with three ball clubs having buy-in. Obviously, something went right because this year, there are more than 30.

One aspect of the initiative: the name game. Each participating team creates culturally-relevant on-field personas that honor the local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities. The "Copa de la Diversión" team identities were unveiled on March 20; team names are available on the MiLB website.

Last season, the three MiLB teams had alternate on-field monikers: The Charlotte Knights became the Caballeros, the Spanish-language equivalent), Las Vegas 51s became Reyes de Plata, or "Silver Kings," a nod to the city's mining heritage, and Visalia Rawhide took the name of Toros in honor of the region's dairy industry). After the conclusion of the season, each participating auctioned the special jerseys and donated the proceeds to a U.S. Hispanic/Latino-focused organization in its community.

This year’s participating teams are as follows (name changers, start your search engines): Albuquerque Isotopes, Bowie Baysox, Brooklyn Cyclones, Charlotte Knights, Corpus Christi Hooks, Daytona Tortugas, Durham Bulls, El Paso Chihuahuas, Eugene Emeralds, Everett AquaSox, Greenville Drive, Hartford Yard Goats, Hillsboro Hops, Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino, Kane County Cougars, Kannapolis Intimidators, Lake Elsinore Storm, Las Vegas 51s, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Memphis Redbirds, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Omaha Storm Chasers, Pawtucket Red Sox, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, San Antonio Missions, San Jose Giants, Stockton Ports, Tulsa Drillers, Visalia Rawhide and Winston-Salem Dash.

In addition, music, concessions and promotions will be used to add to the experience. The schedule for the season can be found here.

The 160-game event series begins on April 8, in Round Rock, Texas. To build awareness and create excitement for the new national series, a three-foot tall Copa de la Diversión trophy will embark on a tour of the participating cities, as part of a Gira de la Copa (Cup Tour).

While MiLB has more promotional options than many events, its goal of engaging the larger community is something any event owner can follow. Particularly in an Olympic year, where TV viewers saw a unified Korea marching under one flag, the time is ripe for inclusivity initiatives. 

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