VISALIA, CA - In 2017, the Visalia Rawhide, in conjunction with Minor League Baseball (MiLB), announced that the Rawhide would rebrand as "Los Toros de Visalia" as a part of the "Copa de la Diversión" initiative. Visalia was chosen as one of only four (4) teams throughout the country to be selected for this innovative Hispanic cultural outreach initiative. It was the first of its kind in sports history and featured new and unique promotional elements to celebrate the heritage of the Hispanic population in Visalia and Tulare county.
"The Central Valley, and Tulare County in particular, has an incredibly rich Hispanic heritage and we were beyond honored to be selected as one of the founding members," said Rawhide/Toros General Manager Jennifer Reynolds. "We embraced the full rebrand of the team and ballpark atmosphere with the goal of welcoming even more people into the Rawhide/Toros family."
The Rawhide's implementation was so successful that the template the club created for this platform was shared with the 160 MiLB teams across the country at the national Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL in December of 2017.
"That experience was very humbling and empowering to be a part of. We do great things in Visalia, and it's nice to be recognized. It helps us know we're on the right track!" said Reynolds.
In 2018, 33 teams were invited to participate in the growing "Copa de la Diversión" program. In 2019, the program now includes 72 teams spread out across the U.S.
Visalia continues to be a leader in the Copa de la Diversión initiative and provides other teams with an example of how to generate the most impact from a similar rebrand.
The Rawhide's efforts are not going unnoticed.
"I've been working very closely with Kurt Hunzeker in the Minor League Baseball office on this project since day one. This was his brainchild, and I think it's a brilliant concept. Kurt designed all the Toros de Visalia logos and uniforms, so Visalia also holds a special place in his heart. I'm always trying to make him proud of how we activate the Toros brand," explained Reynolds. "Last week, I got a call from Kurt with the good news that Minor League Baseball had been nominated for a national sports award for the Copa de la Diversión work, and he invited me to attend as their guest at the awards ceremony in New York City. I was speechless!"
Minor League Baseball was selected by an exclusive committee of the Sports Business Journal for the "Sports Breakthrough of the Year" award. They are one of only four (4) finalists, with the category also including BodyArmor, Los Angeles Football Club, and MGM Resorts. These awards will be held on May 22nd at the New York Marriott Marquis.
Want to see these nationally recognized efforts in person? You're in luck! Los Toros de Visalia will take the field for a 3-game series this weekend versus the visiting Cucuys de San Bernardino (Latin rebrand of the Inland Empire 66ers) Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5. Be prepared for a festive transformation of the ballpark: from the music, to the food, to the in-game entertainment - Latin flavor will be in the air!
"Our players from Latin America absolutely love it! It gives us a great chance to get them more involved and connect to the local community. During this series of games especially, the cultural and language barriers disappear. The local Latin radio stations come in and interview our Latin players, and we feature them as models for all our limited edition uniforms and merchandise. They absolutely love checking out the new food options we have during the games. It all gives them a little taste of home. It's great! Baseball brings people together, and this is just one more reason why I love this game," Reynolds concluded.
Tickets for this weekend's games are going quick! The best way to secure your seats is to go onto www.RawhideBaseball.com to get the best seat options available, or you can call the Rawhide Ticket Office at 559-732-4433 x100.
About the Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide are a professional baseball team in the Class A Advanced California League and are the only professional sports team in Tulare and Kings counties. The team has been an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks since 2007 and is entering their 73nd year of play in 2019. The team has started their season off with a bang, breaking the all-time franchise consecutive wins streak with 13 in a row. The team is currently in first place. The Rawhide renovated their home at Recreation Ballpark in 2009 and have since become the largest gathering of individuals in Tulare County. In 2019, the Rawhide look to continue their reputation for hosting competitive baseball while providing affordable family entertainment. To be a part of the 2019 Visalia Rawhide season, please contact the Visalia Rawhide Ticket Office at 559.732.4433, visit us online at rawhidebaseball.com, or follow us on Facebook (TheRawhide), Instagram (@VisaliaRawhide), and Twitter (@VisaliaRawhide).
Visalia Rawhide Team Sale
In October of 2018, Top of the Third, the Seidler-O'Malley family ownership group of the Visalia Rawhide since 2002, announced that the ballclub is for sale. Top of the Third has retained sports investment bank Park Lane to advise on the transaction. For more information, please contact Sean Clemens with Park Lane at SClemens@prkln.com.
About Minor League Baseball
Minor League Baseball is the governing body for all professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada, and the Dominican Republic that are affiliated with major League Baseball clubs through their farm systems. In 2018, Minor League Baseball attracted nearly 40.5 million fans to its ballparks to see baseball's future stars and experience affordable family-friendly entertainment that has been a staple of Minor League Baseball since 1901. Visit www.MiLB.com for more information.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.