MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL LAUNCHES HISPANIC-FOCUSED INITIATIVE
Minor League Baseball (MiLB) has launched Es Divertido Ser Un Fan, a new multi- cultural fan engagement platform aimed at specifically connecting with Hispanic/Latino baseball fans in 160 markets throughout the U.S. and Canada. The program will debut this August in select MiLB markets, including Las Vegas, Charlotte, North Carolina; Kane County, Illinois; and Visalia, California, with a national expansion planned for 2018.
The Es Divertido Ser Un Fan initiative expands MiLB’s fan-centric marketing campaign It’s Fun to be a Fan, unveiled in March. The Spanish-translated campaign provides teams with an additional option to better connect with and engage fans in culturally-relevant ways.
The most recent ESPN Sports Poll report found that more than 18.2 million U.S. Hispanic/Latino individuals identify themselves as MiLB fans, or 17.2 percent of MiLB’s overall self-designated fan base.
“One of the pillars of Minor League Baseball is to create an environment where all individuals feel welcome and included in our ballparks,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “It is important to us that our teams are reflective of the communities in which they reside, offering a memorable entertainment experience for all members of those communities.”
With years of research and quantifiable filters helping guide the strategic plan, MiLB targeted the four aforementioned communities as ideal markets to launch the initiative in 2017. Each participating team depicts a unique subset of the U.S. Hispanic/Latino population, with the four markets serving as a representative cross-section of the total U.S. Hispanic/Latino populace.
To reflect the unique characteristics of their respective fan bases, participating teams have the option to showcase their communities’ distinctive personas through logos on caps and jerseys.
The Las Vegas 51s will take the field as the Las Vegas Reyes de Plata (“Silver Kings”), celebrating the city and state’s pioneering history at the forefront of the precious metal mining business that continues to define the Silver State today.
“The Reyes de Plata name plays off the fact that Nevada is the Silver State and embraces the impact and history that the Hispanic/Latino community had early in the precious metals mining industry that ultimately made Nevada state-worthy during the final months of the Civil War. The Tuesday re-branding that will occur during August games is something that is unique in professional sports and goes beyond one-off heritage nights,” said Las Vegas 51s general manager Chuck Johnson.
Per Nielsen and Pew Research, in the past 15 years, the 10 U.S. states with the fastest-growing U.S. Hispanic/Latino populations were home to 45 MiLB teams. One of those states is North Carolina, and Charlotte is one of the fastest- growing emerging Hispanic markets in the country.
“We look forward to introducing the Charlotte Caballeros, and fans will notice the Caballeros’ name and associated themes integrated in their experiences at BB&T Ballpark and in the community,” said Charlotte Knights’ general manager Rob Egan. “We will feature special concession items, public address announcements in Spanish, player features on the video board and a festival with live music during our introductory weekend of August 18-20. Additionally, we will be strengthening our bond with the Latin American Chamber of Commerce Charlotte and the Puerto Rican Cultural Society of Charlotte, as well as volunteering and raising funds for Circle de Luz, a group whose mission is to empower Hispanic girls and young women through mentoring, programming and educational scholarships.”
Of the five counties surrounding Chicago’s Cook County, Kane County, Ill,, has the largest population of U.S. Hispanic residents.
“Our goal has always been to provide affordable, family fun for all area residents,” said Kane County Cougars Vice President and general manager Curtis Haug. “Our Spanish-language outreach will encourage even more families to enjoy Kane County Cougars baseball.”
As the 14-largest U.S. Hispanic/Latino DMA, Visalia, California, boasts a prominent Mexican-American farming community, and a long-standing position as one of the premier dairy-producing regions of the world. The Visalia Rawhide, who will become the Visalia Toros (“Bulls”), saw this program as an opportunity to further engage their Hispanic/Latino fan base.
“The team’s rebranding pays homage to California’s Central Valley agricultural empire and the people who make it a wonderful place to call home,” said Jennifer Reynolds, general manager of the Visalia Rawhide. “To kick off this year-long celebration, we will host Taquiza y Toros so that everyone can enjoy great family-friendly entertainment at our ballpark, no matter what language he or she speaks.”
Fans can join the Es Divertido Ser Un Fan conversation, share their experiences and exchange stories using the hashtags #MiLBEsDivertido and #MiLBIsFun.
OUT OF TITLE HUNT, SOUTH SOUND FC EDGES OLY TOWN
The Oly Town Artesians wrapped up their home slate on Sunday, July 23, with a 1-0 loss to Washington Premier South Sound FC. Isidro Prado-Huerta scored the lone goal of the game in the 72nd minute to lead the Shock to the victory and move them into third place in the Evergreen Premier League.
South Sound FC outshot the Artesians 15-7 and Oly managed just one shot on goal over 90 minutes, a header by Kyle Witzel that went right into the hands of Shock keeper Mike Arguello. However, the Artesian defense kept them in the game throughout, giving up just the one score. Tyler John sent a cross into the box on a counter attack that Prado-Huerta was able to collect and finish for what proved to be the game winner.
South Sound improved to 6-5-2 with the win, moving into the third spot in the standings behind the Seattle Stars and Bellingham United. Seattle (9-1-3) can lock up the EPLWA crown with a win over the Vancouver Victory on Saturday, July 29. A loss or draw could open the door for Bellingham (9-2-2), who will face Yakima United the following day, trailing the Stars by just a single point in the EPLWA championship race.
The loss drops Oly Town to 4-6-3 in their inaugural season in the Evergreen Premier League. Home cooking did not treat the Artesians well. Between games at South Sound Stadium and Wembley Field at The Evergreen State College, they went just 1-4-2. On the road, they are 3-2-1 with one more opportunity against the same South Sound squad on Sunday, July 30, at the Washington Premier Fields in Puyallup. First kick is set for 3:30 p.m.
GAVRONSKI LOOKS TO CONTINUE BATTLE AT THE BOAT SUCCESS
Super middleweights Mike Gavronski and Tony Hirsch will face off in the main event at Battle at the Boat 112 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Gavronski, a native of Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, brings a record of 23-2-1 with 14 knockouts into the 10-round bout, while Hirsch sports a record of 22-6-2 with nine knockouts.
The main event will be one of six fights on the card, which will also feature a semi-main event between Andres Reyes (7-2-1, 2 KOs) and Andre Keys (3-1-0, KO).
Gavronski has been razor sharp in his last three bouts with wins over previously undefeated Australian champion Jake Carr, knockout artist Thomas Awimbono and Quinton Rankin, who he bested by unanimous decision in his most recent fight on June 3.
“Mike made his professional debut here in 2010 and has fought at the Emerald Queen 11 times,” promoter Brian Halquist said. “He’s never looked better than he has in his last three fights. He has really shaped up his game and is on the verge of cracking the top 20 world rankings.”
Gavronski, a native of Tacoma, is 10-1 in his 11 career fights at the Emerald Queen Casino with his only setback coming in 2015 against Dashon Johnson in a bout for the vacant WBA-NABA United States super middleweight championship. Since that defeat, Gavronski has gone a perfect 3-0.
Hirsch brings a nine-fight unbeaten streak into the main event, last losing on Aug. 17, 2013.
Super lightweights Reyes and Keys highlight the undercard.
Reyes has had his power on full display during his last two contests, posting early knockout victories over Will Hughes and Jacob Szilasi, while Keys, a multiple-time national amateur champion, will attempt to extend his current winning streak to three.
The undercard will also feature undefeated Richard Vansiclen (4-0) facing Frankie Orr in a clash of 175 pounders and Ricardo Maldonado meeting Marco Cardenas in a 140-pound match-up.
Battle at the Boat 112 will feature the VIP experience with 3rd Row Seats being discounted to $75 per ticket. All fans seated in the VIP section (rows 1-3) will have an exclusive access point and a dedicated server to help create a true VIP experience
Tickets are available through the EQC box office and all Ticketmaster Outlets. Preliminary bouts will start at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Battle at the Boat 112 is brought to you by Brian Halquist Productions. For more information, please visit http://www.halquistproductions.com and the Battle at the Boat Facebook page.
Battle at the Boat 112 Card
Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017
10 Round Main Event:
Mike Gavronski (23-2-1, 14 KOs) vs. Tony Hirsch (22-6-2, 9 KOs)
5 Round Semi-Main Events:
145 pounds: Andres Reyes (7-2-1, 2 KOs) vs. Andre Keys (3-1-0, KO)
140 pounds: Ricardo Maldonado (7-6-1, KO) vs. Marco Cardenas (6-6-1, 2 KOs)
4 Round Undercard Bouts:
180 pounds: Richard Vansiclen (4-0-0, 3 KOs) vs. Frankie Orr (1-2-0)
140 pounds: Niko McFarland (0-4-0) vs. Shae Green (1-0-0)
170 pounds: Tommy Turner (4-7-0, 3 KOs) vs. Cole Milani (2-5-0, 2 KOs)
TACOMA AND PIERCE COUNTY VOLLEYBALL OFFICIALS WANTED
The Tacoma-Pierce County Volleyball Officials Board is in need of individuals who are interested in officiating middle school, junior high, senior high, college, and recreation department volleyball matches throughout Pierce County. Line Judges are also needed for local high school matches. A comprehensive training program scheduled for Aug. 23, 22, 28 and 30 is offered for all new officials and the opportunities to advance in the organization are extensive.
For students, retirees, or former athletes looking to re-connect with a sport, officiating high school and middle school sports is also an excellent way to earn some extra income and provide a great service to the teams. Registration is due no later than Aug. 10th so please contact us immediately.