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Monarcas de Eugene: Eugene Ems wear & auction altered jersey to benefit Latino community

The Eugene Emeralds will wear & auction off altered uniforms at their July 6, 2018in recognition of the Latino community. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- You may have noticed the Eugene Emeralds wearing a different logo this summer.

The Ems will be transforming into their alter-image, the Monarcas de Eugene.

From sasquatch to monarch - "todos somos monarcas" - "we are all monarchs."

That is what you will see on the back of the Eugene Emeralds new alter-image jersey.

The Ems have gone through a metamorphosis this season, which General Manager Allan Benavides says it’s more than just a name change. “A lot of teams have essentially translated their name into Spanish.”

Los Monarcas de Eugene are a part of a larger effort by Minor League Baseball's Copa de la Diversion Campaign to embrace the Latino community.

“The Monarcas are here to stay,” Benavides says, “the cap, the brand, the jerseys - that is not going to change.”

Benavides is one of three Latino general managers in the minor leagues, so he says he wanted to hit a home run with this one.

“In the design of the butterfly, there are 33 dots representing 33 countries of Latin America,” he explained. “Oregon is the 33rd state; there is the green around the butterfly which is symbolic of the Eugene Emeralds.”

The butterfly also includes the Ollin Aztec symbol representing the heart and commitment of the team, which is predominantly Latino.

“Eso me hace sentor muy orgulloso la verdad, porque ese es mi objetivo llegar a jugar a una grande liga para ayudar a otra persona y si en ese dia eso de hara se hara bunificacion a hesa persona seria muy bien,” said Rafael Mejia, a player from the Dominican Republic. Translated, he said, “This makes me feel very proud, because this is my objective to why I play - I want to one day make it to the big leagues and if I can benefit and include the community while doing that, then it’s just great.”

Benefiting from Los Monarcas this season is Centro Latino Americano, a local organization that provides resources to the Latino community, which was also a part of the team’s transformation.

“The butterfly is a beautiful insect and I think it represents that migration piece, but also just the diversity of our culture,” said David Saez with Centro Latino Americano.

Benavides says he wants everyone to relate to Los Monarcas as a national symbol representing the migration of many Americans.

Players will be wearing the uniforms on July 3 and will auction off the jerseys in the 6th inning.

All proceeds will go to Centro Latino Americano.

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