Thirty-three teams across all levels participated in Minor League Baseball’s Copa de La Diversión (Fun Cup), an effort to increase awareness and promote the game to Spanish-language fans. The league announced today at baseball’s winter meetings in Las Vegas that the Albuquerque Isotopes took the contest’s top prize with their Mariachis de Nuevo México identity.
While some teams created Spanish-language brands that were translations of their normal identity, the Isotopes went a completely different direction from their Simpsons-based brand. The name Mariachis celebrates a traditional Mexican musical style, and the logo features Catrin, the male version of Catrina, who was born as a protest symbol of social inequality in Mexico and who has since come to represent the Day of the Dead.
In the first game the Isotopes played as the Mariachis on May 8, the team set their own attendance record with 16,975 fans. Over the course of the season’s Copa-themed games, the team increased attendance over comparable games from 2017 by more than 5,000 fans—the largest such increase of any of the teams participating in the Copa.
I and my special lady friend Ramsey were two of those fans at the second of four Mariachis games on June 26. (I’m the one on the left.) Based on my experience at the game, I can affirm that this honor is well deserved. Not only is the Mariachis brand one of the best of the Copa teams, but the in-game festivities, from street tacos to roving bands to fireworks, were among the best I’ve seen at a minor league game.
The award, determined by MiLB’s new Latinx Advisory Committee, was awarded to the team “that best achieved the primary objectives of the Copa event series: increasing awareness, authentic engagements and attendance with U.S. Hispanics/Latinx in its local community; embracing U.S. Hispanic/Latinx community and culture that is passionate about baseball, family and fun by updating its ballpark experience to match the values this specific fan segment cherishes most; creating and embracing culturally-relevant on-field personas that authentically connect the team with its local U.S. Hispanic/Latinx community; and amplifying MiLB’s continuous effort to diversify the game and business of baseball nationwide.”
Next year’s Copa will feature more than double the number of participants from this year, expanding to 72 teams.