Camacho's Bar, a watering hole in Milwaukee's Walker’s Point, was the place of reunion for about 15 locals last Friday night. Many were shouting in Spanish at the TV as Cuban American Gio Gonzalez threw the pitch to kick off the Brewers first game of the National League Championship Series.
Gonzalez isn’t the only Latino player on the Brewers team. Almost half of the players on the active roster are Latino and the majority are immigrant players. Six players were born in Venezuela. Two were born in the Dominican Republic. One born in Mexico and one born in Puerto Rico (technically the U.S. but not the mainland).
Major League Baseball has recognized the growing demographic of Latino players. The league, as well as individual teams, have had campaigns in efforts to market to a Latino fan base.
One of those fans is Juan Rios. He’s a regular at Camacho's and baseball player himself. He says this is his passion. “The Brewers are my favorite team,” he says. "I’ve been following them for 10 years."
The Brewers recently hired the ad agency PM3 to conduct a study on how to grow the Latino fan base. To do that, according to the study, the Brewers should get into Latino neighborhoods, get involved in the community, and show them that the Brewers are invested in doing good for Milwaukee Latinos. That's an area where educator Adrian Gonzalez says the Brewers could do better.
“I don't’ see that. You know, partner up with teachers, partner up with schools, partner up with organizations that are trying to develop our future. You want to make sure you’re out there and reaching out to the actual Milwaukee Community. And I think that's what they could get better at,” Gonzalez says.
For now, most fans are happy the Brewers are in a hunt for a World Series title. The team won Game 3 of the NLCS to earn 2-1 series lead and plays again Tuesday at 8:09 p.m. in Los Angeles.