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B a s e b a l l
M e x i c o
Tuesday, April 24, 2 0 1 8
LMP to allow 12 foreigners in 2018-19, but All-Star Game dropped
The Mexican Pacific League held a meeting last week in Mazatlan, where team presidents had a chance to tour Estadio Teodoro Mariscal, where a massive retrofit is underway in preparation for next winter's schedule. Renovations have been moving along at a decent pace but the possibility exists that the Venados will need to spend their first few series on the road for the 2018-19 season to ensure the ballpark is fully ready for occupancy. Both the Durango Generales and Leon Bravos spent the first month of the 2017 Mexican League season living out of their suitcases while their respective ballparks were being brought up to standard. The Venados are not expected to wait that long, but one never knows for sure in these instances.
Besides looking over Teodoro Mariscal's modernization effort (which leaves Navojoa as the only LMP franchise site with an outdated playing facility), the LMP governors made a couple of important decisions that point directly toward the effect the Mexican League's extension of their schedule into October with the latter's two-season format with month-long playoffs for each. One decision was to raise the limit of foreign players allowed on a MexPac team's active roster from eight to twelve next winter. The reason given is a practical one, since there will be so little turnaround time for players between the end of their LMB seasons and the beginning of the LMP schedule and Mexican League teams (who own the players' rights in Mexican ball) are expected to hold some players on their protected lists out of the winterball season, citing fatigue. The result is a shortage of domestic talent for LMP clubs at the beginning of their season, which led to the increase of imports. The LMB's no-limit policy on Mexican-American ballplayers, as mandated last year by Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Connor, does not exist in the MexPac (which does not fall under MiLB auspices) but it may need to be considered as October draws closer and homegrown players start becoming unavailable.
Another change brought on by LMB schedule encroachment was the demise of the LMP All-Star Game, which was revived two years ago after an absence of nineteen winters. The event has drawn well in both Obregon and Los Mochis since it was resumed, but the window for selected players and coaches to take part was already a narrow one even before the Liga extended their calendar by a month, and LMP leaders determined that holding an All-Star Game (along with the popular Home Run Derby) this winter wasn't practical from a logistical standpoint. The MexPac regular season is presently set to open on Friday, October 12, less than a month after the Mexican League's second-season playoffs will conclude.
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