The West Michigan Whitecaps have announced the team will become Las Calaveras de West Michigan for three Saturday games during the 2019 season—May 11, July 13 and August 17—as part of the Copa de la Diversion, a celebration of Hispanic/Latino culture and the influence it has had on America’s pastime.
According to the MiLB, the Copa de la Diversion, or "Fun Cup," was such a success across the league in 2018, that they've more than doubled the number of teams participating for 2019, with the Whitecaps being one of 72 Minor League Baseball teams embracing the Hispanic/Latino fan engagement initiative.
"This program is aimed at connecting the teams to their communities," Whitecaps President Steve McCarthy said.
"For the Whitecaps, it's allowing us to both demonstrate our commitment to diversity and provide a wide selection of fan engagement offerings."
Baseball is a sport that embraces families and celebrations, and the Calaveras de West Michigan alternate persona of the West Michigan Whitecaps will bring Fifth Third Ballpark to life to celebrate the vibrant local Hispanic/Latino community and its traditions.
Fans will enjoy sugar skull decorating, face painting, authentic food and music, games, and more when Las Calaveras de West Michigan take the field.
Calaveras, or skulls, are an important part of Hispanic culture. Skulls made out of sugar are decorated and used during Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)—a festive and colorful Latin holiday that originated in Mexico thousands of years ago, during which families celebrate the lives and legacies of deceased relatives. The uplifting holiday recognizes death as something to celebrate as part of the cycle of life. Calaveras can also refer to mock-obituary poems that playfully poke light-hearted fun at living people.
"Our desire is to reflect the community, whether it's our game-day employees, our front office or our fans," McCarthy said.
"The core values of this community reflect the core values of Minor League Baseball—family, community, entertainment and tradition. This is an opportunity for us to grow."
The Calaveras logo is a unique take on a sugar skull and fans will notice subtle references to the Whitecaps and West Michigan within it. Along with the eyes being baseballs inside the 616 West Michigan area code, there are baseball bats, a home plate, a W and an M, the team's original logo from the 1990s, and seagulls and waves representing the Lake Michigan shoreline.
To learn more about Calaveras de West Michigan or to buy tickets, see West Michigan Whitecaps.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.
Photocourtesy of West Michigan Whitecaps.