TOMS RIVER – The Lakewood BlueClaws will be taking on a new identity this season as part of the new 2019 Copa de la Diversion Hispanic outreach initiative. For four games of the 2019 season, the BlueClaws will become the Medusas de Lakewood, a new title unveiled on March 18 at the Ocean County Library in Toms River.
In attendance at the unveiling were dozens of kids from O.C.E.A.N., Inc. Kids, a “Community Action Agency [that] has provided services to income-eligible residents assisting them in moving towards self-sufficiency.”
The kids played corn hole, colored pictures, played a ring-toss game, musical chairs, Hula Hoop Hustle, and got to hang out with the BlueClaws’ very own mascot, Buster.
These children are exemplary of those that will benefit from the Medusas’ Dia de los Ninos program, which allows underprivileged local families in Monmouth & Ocean Counties the opportunity to enjoy the Medusas games through ticket donations.
The Copa de la Diversion translates to the “Fun Cup,” a campaign aimed at connecting the Minor League Baseball teams with their local, diverse communities. These four games will feature special activities and highlights geared towards Hispanic and Latino culture.
General Manager and Team President of the BlueClaws, Joe Ricciutti, noted that Copa de la Diversion games will feature mariachi bands, diverse vendors, and Latino foods to celebrate the local community.
“What you see when you walk in the gates – the food, the music, the live entertainment – all of that is going to have a very specific feel to it,” said Ricciutti.
Ricciutti also noted that bilingual staff will be on hand for those in the local Hispanic community who might not be as proficient in English.
“It can at least help in making sure that there are no barriers,” he said.
These special additions to the typical BlueClaws game night are done in cooperation with Jorge and Betty Rod of the National Association for the Advancement of Latino People. Other donors include Morgan Stanley of Red Bank, Jose Angeles Painting & Decorating of Jackson, and Prudential.
According to the BlueClaws, the Medusa was chosen as the Copa de la Diversion mascot for its significant symbolism.
“Native to the nearby Atlantic Ocean, the Medusa, or jellyfish, boasts five tentacles to represent strength, faith, trust, family and acceptance found within the LatinX community. The logo’s vibrant colors represent the Jersey Shore’s diversity and familial love displayed throughout the region,” stated the team.
The cartoonish jellyfish adorning the new Medusas uniforms is made up of bright pinks, blues and purples, which also stand for diversity, family, and affection within the Latino community, according to the team.
“These are growing communities in all of our team’s markets…we spent a great deal of time trying to decide on a logo…so it just doesn’t feel like a theme night,” said Ricciutti. “We’re very, very proud of this initiative…we want to make sure that we’re bringing that message to as many people as we possibly can.”
The children of O.C.E.A.N., Inc. participated in games and fun activities hosted by the BlueClaws crew members. Each child also received their very own Medusas t-shirt which they all put on right away before enjoying snacks and coloring.
The Medusas de Lakewood will take over FirstEnergy Park during four season games:
• Friday, May 3, 7:05 p.m. – Post-Game Fireworks
• Sunday, June 23, 1:05 p.m. – Kids Run the Bases
• Friday, July 26, 7:05 p.m. – Post-Game Fireworks
• Wednesday, August 28, 7:05 p.m.
You can also take part in the Copa Celebration Membership program which includes tickets to all four Copa games, a food item at each of the four games, and a special Dia de los Muertos Medusas Bobblehead.
For single-game tickets for the four Medusas games, call 732-901-7000 option 2.