Los Chivos de Hartford are back and ready to make sure fans head to the ballpark.
For the second year, the Hartford Yard Goats become los Chivos de Hartford as Minor League Baseball kicked off the second season of Copa de la Diversion on April 5.
Last month MiLB presented the 72 Latino identities for teams across the country who will be taking part in the Copa de la Diversion — or Fun Cup — this season, according to an MiLB.com article. The aim behind la Copa is to engage, embrace and honor Latino communities across baseball. Last year, according to the MiLB, 33 teams participated.
The league worked for more than three years researching and developing the Copa platform, Kurt Hunzeker, Minor League Baseball vice president of marketing strategy and research told MiLB.com. “Since no other sports property attempted what we planned for Copa de la Diversion, we did not have a baseline to judge success,” Hunzeker said.
Yard Goats general manager, Mike Abramson told MiLB.com, “We were planning to do it, or something very similar, when the idea of the Copa program first came up, so it really worked out quite nicely.
The excitement that came with the Yard Goats name change to their alter ego of Los Chivos amazed even Abramson, according to the article. “I am still surprised by how many Los Chivos hats I see out in public,” he said. “I’m still a brand geek, and I’m very proud of what we’ve built, so if I see somebody out in public wearing a Yard Goats hat, I just always go up to them like, ‘Thank you for wearing that hat.’ And if I’m in another state, forget about it. I’ll go apoplectic. It’s really cool. I see the Los Chivos caps everywhere.”
The Hartford team established a connection with the Latino community from the beginning of its franchise days.
“We want people to feel a unique pride in what we’re doing, but at the same time, I do think it’s important to have people know that Minor League Baseball is so proactive in what they’re doing culturally that this is a multi-team thing and I think well on its way to being every team,” Abramson said. To me, I think the statement is as important as the (Copa) program itself becoming more notable.”
This season the Goats will play more games as Los Chivos. Those games will include Latin music and performances, public address announcements in English and Spanish, and video board messages from the team’s Latino players — who include Rayan Gonzalez of Arecibo, Puerto Rico; Alexander Guillen of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic; and Manny Melendez of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
Plans for this season also include a home-and-home series setup with Richmond, in which Hartford will play as Los Chivos and Richmond’s Flying Squirrels will be the Ardillas Voladoras.
“With the games against Richmond, I’m slapping both our logos up there, and it’s going to be in Spanish, and the whole point is one, I think it’s going to pique people’s interest, and two, I want people in the community to feel really proud that that’s how far we’re taking it,” Abramson said.
Los Chivos/Yard Goats of Hartford open the season at home on April 11 at 7:05 p.m. against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.