"Los Suns?" The Dbacks did that years ago

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There was a lot of coverage of the Phoenix Suns’ decision to wear jerseys that said “Los Suns” on them as a protest against Arizona’s immigration law.  The Diamondbacks have been doing that, and more, for years, however.

Back in 2007 the team began a concerted effort to attract the Hispanic fan base, entering into promotional partnerships with media
outlets such as Univision and La Voz and selling tickets at
Phoenix Ranch Market, which caters to Hispanic shoppers.  They also installed new Spanish language signage around Chase Field, and made an effort to market the team under the name “Los Diamantes” because there wasn’t an easy and pithy Spanish translation for “Diamondbacks.”

Such things weren’t political statements. They were reflections of reality. A reality that more than a quarter of Maricopa County residents are Hispanic and that, despite the fact that overall attendance was in decline at Dbacks games, Hispanic attendance had held more or less steady.  When a large portion of your fan base is also among your most loyal fans, you do that sort of thing.

It’s the sort of thing that everyone — both the supporters of the immigration law and those who would boycott the Diamondbacks — should maybe think about a bit.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉