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Dodgers minor league team didn't realize Copa de La Diversión name had slang meaning

Dodgers minor league team runs with temporary rebrand despite its unfortunate double-meaning
Dodgers minor league team runs with temporary rebrand despite its unfortunate double-meaning 02:46

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, have come under fire in recent weeks after announcing a team promotion that ended up having an unfortunate connotation. 

For their new Copa de La Diversión jerseys, the Quakes decided to go by "The Chaquetas," what was supposed to be a fun play on the meme-worthy actions of Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly. He famously donned the jacket during the team's trip to the White House after winning the World Series in 2020 after trading his jersey for a mariachi band member's jacket. 

What they didn't realize, however, is that the term had an alternate meaning in Spanish, often used as slang for masturbation. 

A screenshot from the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes' website, explaining the meaning behind their Copa de La Diversión team name — The Chaquetas.  Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

"In Southern California, Mariachi music is a treasured art form. Its reach extends beyond those who share the genre's cultural background. So, when baseball-favorite and Rancho Cucamonga resident Joe Kelly put on that Mariachi jacket, and later wore it to the White House, he wasn't just making an exceptional style choice," the team's website said, explaining the intended significance behind the team name. 

"Rather, the pitcher was honoring the music's most esteemed qualities, many of which it shares with baseball: artistry, years of dedication to the craft, teamwork, and the privilege to put on such historically significant uniforms," the team's website continued. "The Chaquetas pays tribute to that legendary baseball moment, but more importantly, the people who revere it. Like Joe, Rancho's hometown team invites fans to 'ponte una chaqueta' to celebrate the cross-cultural impact of community, music and baseball."

A photo of Kelly wearing the mariachi jacket at the White House with former Dodger Justin Turner.  Justin Turner (@redturn2 on Instagram)

Because of this, the team continued on with the promotion, handing out 1,500 of the jerseys to fans at Saturday's game. 

"It's really cool. Also, like, I'm Mexican, so all the heritage coming here in California is really cool," said Jose Rodriguez, a pitcher with the Quakes. He loved the jersey so much he wore it again at practice on Monday. He says that family back in Mexico loved that he was able to wear it in a game. 

Copa de La Diversión is an MiLB-wide promotion to "embrace the culture and values that resonate most with Minor League Baseball teams' local U.S. Hispanic communities."

"That's it! You know, we have to tell the story — it's so cool," said Quakes General Manager Grant Riddle. 

He says that despite wanting to honor the iconic moment for MLB and Dodger fans alike, they weren't aware of the connotation associated with the Spanish word. 

"Honestly, we were shocked. We started to get some comments, 'Do you know what else this means?'" Riddle said.

The hat and jersey worn by the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes during their rebrand as The Chaquetas.  KCAL News

Richard Rodriguez, an English professor at UC Riverside, says that he's shocked nobody caught it, but even so the term isn't that scandalous. 

"It's alternative meaning is kind of a term of endearment, or one that connects people by way of an inside joke," Rodriguez said. 

The Quakes removed the name from social media for a few hours after they were made aware, but Riddle says that the support from a number of communities led them to continue on with the Copa rebrand. 

"We developed this brand, you know, we vetted it, we took it to our local Latino communities and said, 'What do you think?'" Riddle said, noting that they also asked Major League Baseball and mariachi bands alike. "Everybody was like, 'This is awesome, this is incredible.'"

Even with the misnomer, Riddle says that they decided to stick with the rebrand and focus on its intended meaning. They will wear the jerseys again on May 16, and will keep the brand in place for the next few seasons. 

(Editor's Note: Professor Rodriguez is associated with UC Riverside, not UC Irvine.)

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