Monday, December 26, 2005

Neverending VII

The Philadelphia Phillies also have sought to expand their Latino fan base through establishing a Latino identity of its team. Every year they host a Latino Family Celebration night, where rumba music and mariachis play in the stands. However, Cuban and Mexican are not the largest Latino nation represented in the Philadelphia region. This distinction belongs to Puerto Rico, and they were underrepresented at this year’s Latino Family Celebration night. While rumba music and mariachis can be enjoyed by all, the Phillies broke off from the identity marketing which other teams, such as the Mets, and the league has sought to foster.

The Phillies also have given out their own Latino Legends Award in order to appeal to Latino fans. By giving an award to past Phillies Latino ballplayers, they hope to use identity as a marketing tool. Once again, however, they have gone about this the wrong way. Namely, they simply do not have a great history of Latino ballplayers. Of the eight winners, most recently catcher Ozzie Virgil Jr., only Tony Perez was a hall-of-famer, and he only played for the Phillies for one year, in 1983. The rest of the recipients were mostly role players on winning teams. The problem the Phillies have is that past history of segregation and racism in their ownership and coaching ranks have caught up with them, and trying to market the ‘great’ history of Phillies Latino ballplayers comes off as insincere at best.

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