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San Antonio

Missions Baseball Team Becomes 'Flying Chanclas' For Copa De La Diversion

San Antonio Missions Baseball

The San Antonio Missions baseball team is becoming the Flying Chanclas for nine baseball games this season.

Thirty-three other minor league baseball teams have adopted creative names as they compete in La Copa de Diversion, which is Spanish for "Fun Cup." The special baseball season will pay tribute to Hispanic players and fans.

In the case of the Missions, a chancla is a sandal, and the term "Flying Chanclas" refers to its aerodynamic ability when used by Latina mothers and grandmothers in a variety of situations.

“The club honors the matriarch of the Latino family, the Abuelita, and her symbol of strength, discipline and love with its on-field persona for this special series of events. The chancla has long been symbolic of the Abuelita as she maintains the structure and order of la familia,” the team said in a news release.

Rich Weimert, director of public relations for the Missions baseball team, says the Hispanic community is an important fanbase for baseball, and the Fun Cup is dedicated to them.

“A lot of our consumer base is Hispanic, and I think it was just a way to kind of show off how diverse the game is — all the people involved in the game — especially the fans.”

The team name may already be a home run. Much of the merchandise for the Chanclas sold out in a little more than a day.

“We got cleaned out in just 24 hours of all our hats and some of our t-shirts. We ordered, I think, another 1,000 hats but it did a crazy amount of business,” he said.

Other teams include the El Paso Chihuahuas, Corpus Christi Raspas, Round Rock Chupacabras and San Bernardino Cucuys. The Chihuahuas are the permanent name of the El Paso club, however.

The Flying Chanclas games will include a shoe drive benefiting Haven for Hope, a nonprofit that helps the homeless in San Antonio. Patrons who bring in a pair of shoes – either new or gently used – will receive tickets to a future Mission’s game.

The team's first game is scheduled for Cinco De Mayo. After that, the Missions will become the Chanclas again for every Thursday home game.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.