OGDEN — The Ogden Raptors unveiled new uniforms, a new logo and an alternate team name on Wednesday — a move that officials say represents a renewed commitment to Ogden’s Hispanic Community.
At a press conference held Wednesday at the Union Station, Raptors President Dave Baggott discussed the secondary Raptors brand and a new Hispanic-based identity. For select games in 2020, the team will be called “Los Carnivoros de Ogden” and wear brightly-colored black, blue, lime green and fuchsia uniforms and hats.
The undertaking is part of Minor League Baseball’s Copa de la Diversión series, which is meant to include the cultures and values of Hispanic communities around the country. The campaign began in 2017 and will include 94 teams in 2020. The Raptors will be one of 22 new teams to join Copa, translated as “Fun Cup,” next year.
Wednesday’s press conference featured speakers from the baseball club and Ogden City, a live mariachi band and food catered by Las Flores Fresh Authentic Mexican.
“We know that Ogden and Weber County have the largest Hispanic population in the state,” Baggot said during the press conference. “We wanted to pay homage to that ... and we wanted to do it right. Being a pasty Irish kid like I am — I didn’t want to come up with something that I thought was clever, then find out later that it might be culturally insensitive.”
So Baggott recruited the help of Ogden Council Member Luis Lopez, who was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, until he immigrated to the United States at 19. He became a U.S. citizen in 2008. Baggott said the pair spent months coming up with the idea for the new name, logo and uniform colors.
“It wasn’t done willy-nilly,” Baggott said.
The Raptors president said Los Carnivoros comes from Aztec and Mayan folklore, from thousands of years ago.
“(The Los Carnivoros mascot) is a meat eating monster,” Baggott said. “Just like the Raptor — it will take your face of if given the opportunity.”
For his efforts, Lopez was given the first official Carnivoros jersey. The councilman said he understands the important role Minor League Baseball has played in Ogden for decades. He said he was proud to be part of the effort to meld two longtime Ogden cultures.
“There are a lot of Hispanic people in our community who are working very hard to try to improve the lives of the Hispanic community and everyone else,” Lopez said Wednesday. “People who are working toward cultural integration. This is just a great opportunity to take a step forward in that direction. The message that this sends to our Hispanic community is really huge. It’s a message that our leaders in the community really care.”
Mayor Mike Caldwell and Council Member Doug Stephens also received jerseys at the Wednesday event.
“Sports are a unique way to build community and this is a great addition,” Caldwell said. “We’re really proud of what the Raptors have done and how they’ve represented Ogden.”
The Raptors will wear their Copa hats and uniforms during Sunday home games in 2020 and on the road when invited by other Pioneer League teams who have a Copa identity. Baggott said activities and promotions at Sunday Raptors games will also feature elements of Hispanic culture.