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"Los Suns?" The Dbacks did that years ago

May 6, 2010, 8:32 AM EDT

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.

  1. Will - May 6, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Is there a word count? I keep getting an error when I post anything longer than a brief sentence.

  2. Will - May 6, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Are we absolutely certain that every hispanic person in Arizona is against the law? It seems as if everyone is working under that assumption. It’s important to note that the law does not specifically target hispanics, just those in the country illegal (even though most illegal aliens in Arizona are hispanic). While I think the law is an ill-advised, desperate attempt to deal with an issue caused by Federal neglect, I also don’t see it as being anti-hispanic. With a large potion of hispanics in Arizona being U.S. born, I can easily see some supporting the law. After all, their tax money is involved too. Also, I can see a hispanic citizen being tired of the stigmas resulting from Arizona’s problems with illegal immigrants. It’s almost like a clean player demanding to be tested for steroids so they don’t have to live under the cloud suspicion.

  3. Eric - May 6, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    The “Los Suns” jersey probably had more to do with it being Cinco de Mayo rather than a show of solidarity with the protesting *illegal* immigrant. But keep throwing it out there Craig, maybe you can get your own show between Olby and Maddow.

  4. Eric - May 6, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Isn’t it a tad inconsiderate to equate the Spanish language with illegal immigration? Does anybody else see the inherent prejudice in this storyline? Many sympathizers are excoriating the AZ law for being racist and that it will force police officers to profile someone based on the color of their skin and the language they choose to speak, *however*, the Pheonix Suns (who have used the “Los Suns” jerseys before), choose to acknowledge Cinco de Mayo, and because Spanish is used, it is equated with *illegal* immigration. Hypocritical, no?

  5. Joey B - May 6, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    “The “Los Suns” jersey probably had more to do with it being Cinco de Mayo rather than a show of solidarity with the protesting *illegal* immigrant. But keep throwing it out there Craig, maybe you can get your own show between Olby and Maddow.”
    At least once a year, the RS wear a hideous green uniform to show their support for illegal Irish immigrants. And a lot of teams push pink garb to show their support for downtrodden women. And sometimes they where black jerseys to show support for the rap community.
    And knowing the altruistic nature of the owners, I’m sure it had nothing to do with selling more jerseys. Cha-ching.

  6. Al - May 6, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    The Suns’s owner made a statement in which he says it essentially was about the immigration law. So try again guys, and have fun at the tea party.

  7. Joey B - May 6, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    “Isn’t it a tad inconsiderate to equate the Spanish language with illegal immigration?”
    I see it as exacerbating the issue.
    I can see celebrating Cinqo de Mayo, even though my friend in Mexico City tells me it’s more an American holiday than a Mexican holiday. Still, it reeks of racism that Latinos need to be spoken to in their own language, when it is assumed that every other immigrant group will simply learn English.
    I’ve gone to more Yankee games than I can count. I’ve never seen a celebration of any other ethnic quasi-independence day. I’ve never seen the RS or the NYY wear uniforms written in Italian or Polish or Mandarin or russian or anything else.
    And FWIW, I’ve don’t think I’ve ever met any Latinos that didn’t speak English. It’s think it’s condescending to speak to Latinos in Spanish if you aren’t going to speak to every other ethnic group in their native language.

  8. Palooka Joe - May 6, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Sure, there are Hispanics here in Arizona who support the law, just like there are whites who don’t. It’s part of the gloriously messy human condition. Monolithic blocs are fairy tales.

  9. Thomas B - May 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    If they want to do such a thing to honor Hispanics or protest the law–or whatever the reason–the least they could do if offer up a proper translation. “The Suns” in Spanish is “Los Soles”. Simply adding a “Los” in front of the English word has the appearance of ignorance.

  10. Professor Dave - May 6, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Right! It’s not like it’s hard to translate. I was all for the gesture (and Al is right, it didn’t /have/ to be about the immigration law, but it was, according to the Suns players/mgt/owner), but Spanglish isn’t the way to go.

  11. Palooka Joe - May 6, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    The reason people are equating “Los Suns” with opposition to Arizona’s immigration bill is this comment by Suns owner Robert Sarver which accompanied the announcement about the alternate jerseys:
    “The frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law. However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.”

  12. BC - May 6, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    If I were hispanic I’d be royally PO’d at this. They’re basically mocking the language. Use correct Spanish or don’t do it!
    I would say un mistako mal grande but I’d be stooping to their level…

  13. Al - May 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Found on another site:
    All teams that participate in the NBA’s Noche Latina marketing have their untranslated nickname preceded by “El” or “Los.” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the decision was based on consumer research that showed Latino fans and Spanish-language broadcasters do not translate team names but use “Los” or “El” in front of them.
    “Pushing a literal translation of the names would not have been a relevant execution for an audience that does not currently do this and already refers to their favorite teams as ‘Los Suns’ or ‘El Heat’, etcetera,” Frank said. “We took what was already used in the marketplace and made it official.”

  14. Old Gator - May 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Heh, that’s funny – though we usually refer to it as “Espanglish” here in Macondo. I had to learn Spanish in grade school, never dreaming in what good stead it would stand me living down here, and then gradually picked up Espanglish as the local demographics went into bigtime flux about thirty five years ago. At this point it’s got its own long list of unwritten rules – nothing as idiotic as crossing the mound on your way back to the dugout, mind you – and has the sort of stable instability about its syntax and hybrid conjugations that Yiddish did before it no longer reflected a living European culture.
    Meanwhile it’s long since become a convenient halfway house for recalcitrant Anglos and new immigrants here. If you don’t speak Spanish per se, it’d be pretty hard to get your grass cut or plumbing fixed in Macondo without it. I once toyed with the idea of translating Finnegan’s Wake into Espanglish but then decided the better of it, having already driven myself to tranquilizers (well, pina coladas, anyway) trying to translate Blood Meridian, which seems to have been written in Espanglish in the first place, into Gordon Lish English.
    PS – can’t be done.

  15. Joey B - May 6, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    “If I were hispanic I’d be royally PO’d at this. They’re basically mocking the language. Use correct Spanish or don’t do it!
    I would say un mistako mal grande but I’d be stooping to their level…”
    So besides it not being the real independence day, and spelling it wrong, they probably still sold 20,000 jerseys.

  16. Kevin D - May 7, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    The fact is that Mr. Sarver did say that the wearing of the jerseys was a statement about the “flawed state law”. I contend that the basketball court (or the baseball field for that matter) is not the appropriate venue for politic statements. I, as a fan, am in front of the TV, or at the arena for only one thing – to enjoy the game. I don’t appreciate them spoiling the game by politicizing it. The arena is also their workplace. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my employer would never tolerate my bringing politics into my workplace and potentially offending a large portion of our customers – and that’s exactly what they’ve just done.

  17. segundo - May 7, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    Big deal. The Mets have been referred to as “Los Mets” for ages now. Not really as clever as some would think.

  18. Jesse - May 8, 2010 at 5:08 AM

    I see no reason that Arizona sports should get involved with this issue. There are a lot of fans for this immigration law. I sure do hope the Diamondbacks don’t get involved in this political issue. If you want to wear Los Diamondbacks, maybe consider moving the team south of the border or New York.

  19. Route36West - May 8, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Wow you are just like the guys at pft. You talk without knowing what is going on.
    The Suns have been doing it for years too. On Cinco de Mayo. Which was the same day they wore it this year. It was a statement they said not a protest.

  20. Malarky - May 12, 2010 at 4:18 AM

    My parents were born in Mexico, and Central America. Their parents came from Spain and France. I find it revolting, and once again marketing know no bounds on how low to succumb to. I dont give a shit about honoring Cinco de Mayo by placing a “Los” on an American sports team. How pathetic. By placing Los there, you are saying its ok to keep it Spanish. You are saying its ok, and acceptable to alter a teams jersey for some culture. I expect all team jerseys to change their jerseys in Chinese, and German, and whatever then. DONT ALTER THE FRIKIN JERSEYS!!!! It is NOT OK!! LEARN ENGLISH!!! As a Latino male, I cannot stand the likes of the George Lopez crowd who is the target demographic for crap like this. You want civil war? Mark my words, one day years from now there will be a second Spanish Civil war, with people like me who are Americans on one side, and illegal sympathizers who want to destroy our great border states. George Lopez, Jennifer Lopez, and all the rest can go back to wetback hell!!

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