Dodgers' minor league team unwittingly rebrands with a NSFW name

Chaqueta is the Spanish word for jacket.

But it also has another meaning that is, let's just say, NSFW. The word can also be slang for masturbation.

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes were unaware of the word's second meaning when they chose the nickname Chaquetas for Minor League Baseball's Copa de la Diversión series this season.

The Dodgers' single-A minor league affiliate has decided to stick with Chaquetas as their name during their three Copa events this season — but only after a few tense hours following their announcement of the moniker Thursday morning.

“We went live at 10 o’clock and we’re so excited," Grant Riddle, Quakes executive vice president and general manager, told The Times in a phone interview Friday. "You know, we’ve been working for this for two years, gone through this extensive process, all of that. And then we started to get some comments that we didn’t understand."

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According to the MiLB website, the Copa de la Diversión — or the Fun Cup — is a series of events spread throughout the season that celebrates the culture and values of the team's local Latino communities. One part of that celebration is for the participating teams to take on fun, new identities that reflect that portion of their fan bases.

In the past, the Quakes have taken part in the series as the Temblores, which translates to Quakes.

"We had fun with that but kind of wanted to reengage and reenergize our fan base," Riddle said. "We’ve been looking for something, maybe a bit more unique to activate our local Latino fan base. And we’ve been working on it for a couple of years honestly."

The idea of a mariachi theme came up, inspired part by the popularity of mariachi performances at Dodgers games and part by fond memories of Dodgers relief pitcher and Rancho Cucamonga resident Joe Kelly wearing a mariachi jacket to the White House following L.A.'s 2020 World Series win.

"We’ve been fortunate enough to have him pitch for a couple of rehab appearances with us," Riddle said of Kelly, "and the fan reaction clearly exhibited that Joe is a fan favorite in this area. And just a really, really nice man."

Read more: How the Dodgers' mariachis have become a very L.A. tradition

Mariachi was already taken as another team's name, so the Quakes started pondering other options

“And so that’s when we came up with — what did Kelly wear at the White House? He wore a mariachi jacket. All right, what if we just go with the literal translation of jacket? Chaquetas! We knew there were a couple of options there, but we were drawn to Chaquetas because of the Q, you know? Everything in Quakes-land — our jersey, our cap — it’s all Q. We have a lot of fun with the letter Q. We’re like, that’s it, that’s gotta be the one.

Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly wears a mariachi jacket at the team's White House reception on July 2, 2021, in Washington.
Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly wears a mariachi jacket at the team's White House reception on July 2, 2021, in Washington. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

"So that gets vetted through Major League Baseball, we engaged our local Hispanic-Latin community in regard to the concept. We mailed a mariachi group. Our staff, families, we have lots of cultural involvement. And everybody was like, ‘This is gonna be incredible!' "

Riddle added that the Kelly family also approved of the name choice and the use of Kelly's likeness as part of the logo.

And through all of that, Riddle said, the team never heard anything about the slang definition of chaquetas.

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But folks on social media were quick to point it out Thursday morning, causing the Quakes to remove all of its announcements regarding the name from social media for a few hours while they went through an expedited version of the vetting process all over again.

“We were immediately concerned: Have we made an irreversible mistake here?" Riddle said. "And so we immediately kind of reengaged those groups ... and determined rather quickly that none of them were aware of it either. So that was not their immediate, first thought. And just the idea that obviously [the slang definition] exists, but that our intention in no form was anything other than the literal translation. We’re not trying to have any fun with this.

"And I think where we came out after some quick reflection is that this is too important a story to pivot on, and we went through the steps and feel good about that. You know, language is dynamic and there could be words out there that could mean two different things. ... And the slang is not what it means to us or is it ever what it’s going to mean to us here in this community and in the ballpark.”

The team will wear its Chaquetas uniforms on April 13 (replica jersey giveaway night), May 16 (food and drink night) and July 19 (Joe Kelly bobblehead giveaway night).

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.