On July 15, the Charlotte Knights took the field at BB&T Ballpark as the Charlotte Pitmasters, paying tribute to Carolina barbecue.
Now the minor league team will once again don a new logo, this time honoring the city’s growing Latino community as the Charlotte Caballeros.
Knights General Manager of Baseball Operations Rob Egan announced Monday that the team will adopt the Caballeros name – which translates to Knights – and new uniforms for its three-game home series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Aug. 18-20.
“Charlotte has one of the fastest growing (Hispanic and Latino) populations in the country,” Egan said. “Fans will notice the Caballeros’ name and associated themes integrated in their experience at BB&T Ballpark and out in the community.”
The Knights are one of four Minor League Baseball teams that announced plans for expanded efforts to reach the Latino communities on Monday. Latinos make up nearly 14 percent of the city’s population, according to U.S. Census data. That’s up from 12 percent in 2010.
Egan said the team has been in discussions with the league and local Latino organizations about outreach efforts for the past two years, but the league approached the Knights with the Caballeros idea in May.
The Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte and the Puerto Rican Cultural Society of Charlotte, each of which had representatives in attendance Monday, are behind the Caballeros promotion.
“We’re extremely excited to have ‘Los Caballeros’ in Charlotte,” Rocio Gonzalez, executive director of the LACCC, said. “It means a lot to us when such a wonderful team does pay attention to the Latino community and sees them as part of their family. Baseball is a very sought-after sport by the Latino community and we want them to see how easy and accessible the stadium is.”
During the weekend, which Egan hopes will be an introduction to future Caballeros events, BB&T Ballpark will feature special concessions, public announcements in Spanish, player features on the video board, and a festival with live music.
Additionally, the team has begun pre-orders for Caballeros merchandise, with the proceeds going to Circle de Luz – a group whose mission is to empower Hispanic girls and young women through mentoring, programming, and educational scholarships.
“This is about really connecting with a portion of the community that we clearly aren’t doing as well as we could be,” Egan said.