When it comes to efforts to draw the Latinx community to games with theme nights targeted toward that segment of the Phoenix-area population, the Arizona Diamondbacks are successful.
On Aug. 31, they drew a Chase Field record crowd of 50,180 fans for Liga del Pacifico (Mexican baseball) Night. Two weeks later, on Hispanic Heritage Night, 35,000-plus attended.
A few factors helped. The D-backs are still alive for a wild card spot in the National League, and Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds– despite only one hit — left them 4 1/2 games out of the second wild card. There are meaningful games being played.
Second, the “Los D-backs” jersey giveaway had hundreds waiting outside in the heat for the gates of the ballpark to open Saturday late afternoon.
Third, there was live entertainment. From a street festival outside to mariachis to live music from the right field seats.
Right field was the place to be. Banda La Llegadora filled the air-conditioned air with brass and woodwind instruments. A fan held high a Mexican flag. Fans seemed to have no problem with the music right next to their seats.
The Diamondbacks did a couple of things differently this season. They used to combine the Liga del Pacifico presence with Hispanic Heritage Night. They also had never tried a band in the outfield, which is common at games in the heartland of Mexico.
This year, the Mexican baseball teams got a night for themselves. Each team had tables and games to welcome fans to see what each one was all about. The band was in left field that night; Saturday it was in right field.
It all worked, and the feedback should be positive if it hasn’t been already.