The Fresno Grizzlies will become The Lowriders of Fresno for two weekends in June and July. Photo by Edward Smith.
The Fresno Grizzlies called up a familiar cultural icon to represent the team as their alter ego mascot in a minor league baseball tournament designed to celebrate Hispanic heritage.
The team announced Monday that Grizzlies players will don purple and white uniforms to become the Fresno Lowriders for Copa de la Diversion — translated as the Fun Cup.
Drivers unveiled their classic, chromed Chevrolets and other cars in bright colors outside the Downtown Fresno stadium to celebrate the event.
“It isn’t just about the diversity, it’s about the rich heritage,” said Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias, who spoke at the unveiling.
Representatives from Minor League Baseball approached the teams to create Latin-based alter egos to “engage Hispanic communities,” said Ray Ortiz, spokesman for the Grizzlies.
This is the second year for the Copa de la Diversion and the first for the Grizzlies. Other teams like the San Antonio Missions appeared as the Flying Chanclas, or the Albuquerque Isotopes as the Mariachis de Nuevo Mexico.
In Fresno, the Copa de la Diversion will be held at home on June 15 and 16 and in July 28 and 29. They will also have a car show at the stadium.
Low-riders first appeared in Southern California then moved to San Jose, said Ortiz. Being between the two hubs, Fresno became a meeting point.
The founder of Lowrider Magazine, Sonny Madrid, lived in Visalia for 15 years before moving to San Jose, where he passed away, according to Madrid’s nephew Joey Jam, who was present at the unveiling.
The Grizzlies named the best-in-show award for their car show after Madrid.
“It’s really about the time spent on a vehicle and the pride in representing your colors and what your car stands for, a lot of it is family-oriented,” said Ortiz.