Baseball has a long and storied history with Hispanic/Latino culture, with some of the game's all-time greatest players, managers and executives coming from Latin countries. Not only that, but a significant percentage of the sport's U.S. fans are of Hispanic heritage. So when Minor League Baseball (MiLB) debuted the marketing campaign "It's Fun to be a Fan," it seemed only fitting to add a Hispanic/Latino component.
The Es Divertido Ser Un Fan ("It's Fun to be a Fan") initiative was launched in March 2017, with the goal of giving MiLB clubs another way to "connect with and engage fans in culturally relevant ways" by adopting personas that honor the local Hispanic/Latino community.
Because of Southern Nevada's large Hispanic/Latino population and rich history, Las Vegas was among the first five MiLB franchises included in the campaign's initial rollout. In August 2017, the team played several Tuesday games as the Las Vegas Reyes de Plata, which translates as the Silver Kings, a nod to Nevada's precious metals mining heyday in the mid-19th century when Hispanic migrant workers contributed greatly to what was the Silver State's primary industry.
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, MiLB expanded the Es Divertido Ser Un Fan initiative to 33 teams and debuted the Copa de la Diversión ("Fun Cup"), a season-long series of games "specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams' local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities."
This year, MiLB more than doubled the number of Copa de la Diversión teams to 72, covering all minor-league levels.
"The Copa initiative is a natural extension of the diversity of baseball," says Aviators President and CEO Don Logan. "The Latin influence has made baseball the most diverse professional sport in America for decades."
Several of the teams participating the Copa initiative in 2019 are Pacific Coast League rivals of the Aviators, including the Albuquerque Isotopes (Mariachis de Nuevo Mexico), Salt Lake Bees (Abejas de Salt Lake) and Reno Aces (Corazones de Reno).
All three of those squads will face the Reyes de Plata during eight Copa-designated games at Las Vegas Ballpark this season. The first was May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) against the Fresno Grizzlies, with the remaining Reyes de Plata games scheduled for every Tuesday night home contest through the end of the season.
In addition to occasional Reyes de Plata-specific giveaways, the team will engage fans with activities, food items and entertainment that pay tribute to local Hispanic/Latino culture during every Copa game. Also, fans can visit the team store or go online to purchase merchandise that features the Reyes de Plata logo: a sugar skull (inspired by the Dia de Los Muertos celebration) wearing an old-fashioned miner's hat.
"The Las Vegas franchise has been at the forefront of MiLB's Copa de la Diversión games since being one of the original five clubs to embrace a new alternative brand, one that's based on Nevada's abundant Hispanic/Latino history," says Aviators General Manager Chuck Johnson. "Reyes de Plata (Silver Kings) and its creative logo pays homage to the migrant workers that were instrumental in the state's mining history.
"Our schedule will allow the Aviators to celebrate the history and culture of Southern Nevada's vibrant Hispanic/Latino community throughout the season. We will also encourage our opponents to wear their Copa de la Diversión uniforms when they visit Las Vegas Ballpark."
Las Vegas Reyes de Plata games at Las Vegas Ballpark are scheduled for the following dates:
Sunday, May 5 (vs. Fresno)
Tuesday, May 7 (vs. Salt Lake)*
Tuesday, May 21 (vs. Albuquerque)
Tuesday, June 4 (vs. Round Rock)
Tuesday, July 2 (vs. Reno)
Tuesday, July 23 (vs. El Paso)
Tuesday, July 30 (vs. New Orleans)
Tuesday, August 20 (vs. Reno)
*-Reyes de Plata T-shirt giveaway
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.