Minor League Baseball is known for its promotions and its gimmicks, its weird and wild team names and special jersey nights. As a purist, I don’t always like it. I understand it — it’s all about getting fans through the turnstiles and in the seats and finding fun things to attract the crowd — but sometimes, I get a sense that some resort to bribing their fans to come out to the ballpark with gimmicks and bobbleheads, as though the game itself isn’t a sufficient draw.
A few years ago, Minor League Baseball introduced a new promotion — the Copa de la Diversión, “a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams’ local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities.” The Copa series sees teams rebrand with Spanish names, new logos, and colorful uniforms, and every year a few more teams join the Copa event.
The Harrisburg Senators play as the Playeros — in English, the Beachcombers — and last year I finally got to see the Senators as the Playeros. If I remember correctly, team introductions and even “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” were done in Spanish. I would have liked it if Rascal, the team’s mascot, had been rebranded as, perhaps, Pícaro — Spanish for “scalawag” or “rascal.” (Note to self: write the team’s front office and suggest this for next year.) It was a pretty fun night, all in all. I didn’t even sit in my usual place that night, as I hadn’t planned on attending that game and it was kind of a last minute thing.
Yesterday, the York Revolution, the local baseball team in the independent Atlantic League, sent an email that announced that, in the 2023 season, they would be joining in Minor League Baseball’s Copa series: “As members of the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, the York Revolution and the rest of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball have been invited to participate in MLB’s extremely popular Copa de la Diversion program in 2023. The season-long series embraces the culture and values of teams’ Hispanic/Latino communities.”
It took me all of five minutes to submit a possible Copa team name to the Revolution. The historian in me knows there’s really only one choice, even if it’s a bit obvious.
The Libertadores were the revolutionaries — see? — such as Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin who lead the wars of independence in Latin America against the Spanish and the Portuguese, inspired by the same liberal enlightenment ideals that led to the American and the French revolutions.
Like I said, obvious, since it’s basically taking the team’s official name and finding an Hispanic spin on it.
I’ll be curious to see what the team picks and when it will be announced. And, maybe in 2023, I’ll attend a York Copa beisbol game. 🙂