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Monday, March 1, 2021
CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST LMB PRESIDENT RATIFIED
Puro Beisbol editor Fernando Ballesteros reports that the Mayor's Office in a Mexico City borough has confirmed the filing of a criminal complaint against Mexican League president Horacio de la Vega for his alleged "fraudulent administration" in the Magdalena Mixihuca Sports City of the nation's capital, when he was Director of the Sports Institute during the period between 2013-2018.
Puro Beisbol obtained the copy of the original document with the complaint filed on July 30 with the Territorial Investigation Prosecutor's Office in Iztacalco against de la Vega and two other former officials, in addition to confirming its ratification on February 10 with new elements contributed by the affected party.
The complaint was presented by Enrique Escamilla Salinas, Executive Director of Legal Affairs and legal representative of the Iztacalco mayor's office. De la Vega, who assumed the presidency of the LMB on November 26, 2019, has not declared anything about the criminal complaint against him.
As part of the alleged "fraudulent administration," the current head of the LMB has been accused of awarding all contracts directly in the Sports City with millions of pesos that do not coincide with the works that were carried out. The documents point to one of these direct award contracts dating to 2017 with the minor maintenance of the baseball fields, whose company Pastos y Juegos Deportivos invoiced the amount of 15,037,906 pesos.
On the other hand, the Mayor of Iztacalco considers the construction of a lake within the Sports City as one of the biggest frauds, which led to the destruction of five soccer fields and four basketball fields. The lake has been inoperative and is considered one of the mostuca "fraudulent" works in Horacio de la Vega's administration at Indeporte.
Another act that has aggravated Iztacalco authorities who now administer the Ciudad Deportiva is that the Mexico City Diablos Rojos built their new Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú ballpark within the complex but they have yet to pay a single peso since it opened on March 23, 2019. De la Vega awarded the team room for the stadium as administrator of the Sports City, and Ballesteros notes that it was the Red Devils who promoted him for the LMB presidency of the LMB with the support of the Monterrey Sultanes after his term as leader of Indeporte ended in 2018.
Sources have informed Puro Beisbol that the Diablos have sought to negotiate these irregularities with Iztacalco mayor Armando Quintero Martínez. It's unknown if they have already reached an agreement with the team but in the case of de la Vega, what the Mayor's Office did was ratify the criminal complaint against him. "We are going to go to the end of the day," said an official for Quintero, who will seek re-election for another term as mayor.
SAN LUIS POTOSI TO HOST LMB PRESEASON EVENT
The central Mexico city of San Luis Potosi is returning to the Mexican League (sort of) with a four-week series of weekend exhibition games between late April and mid-May. At this point, five LMB teams have signed on for at least one three-game series to be played at the 6,500-seat Estadio 20 de Noviembre. Organizers are hoping the San Luis Potosi Cup serves as a launching pad for future use of San Luis Potosi as a spring training site.
The tournament, which will include Mexican League umpires officiating 12 single games, will be held to an as-yet-determined capacity in the stands. Game times will be at 7PM on Fridays, 6PM on Saturdays and 5PM on Sundays. “It is going to be a great, unprecedented event,” said SLP Cup organizing committee director Patricio Perez. “For a month, we want San Luis Potosi to be one of the main focuses of the LMB preseason, with a quality show on and off the field of play.”
Perez envisions the competition leading to his city becoming a magnet for multiple Liga teams to conduct their training camps and exhibition games: “The idea is ambitious. We want to turn San Luis Potosí into something similar to what Arizona or Florida is for Major League clubs; that is, the base of training camps for clubs that wish to join in the future.”
San Luis Potosi is a city of more than 2.8 million residents (19th-largest in Mexico) that serves as capital of the similarly-named state north of Mexico City and south Monterrey. The region was once of the country's most prominent mining areas and it remains a leading industry there, although agriculture employs a large percentage of people and the service sector is growing.
SLP has had five previous runs in the Mexican League. After fielding a team from late 1925 until early 1927 (during which the name Tuneros was first adopted) and again in 1934, when the team finished second, a third version of the Tuneros inaugurated Estadio 20 de Noviembre in 1946 and played there until moving to Mexico City early during the 1952 season. Another Tuneros squad played in the Class A Mexican Center League from 1960 through 1962 and again in 1971 before the LMB returned in 1986 to provide six more seasons in AAA ball (they were known as the Reales in 1991, the final season of SLP's second Liga stint). One more Tuneros squad played between 2004 and 2006 before the Liga and baseball left the city for good.
Among the more prominent players to represent San Luis Potosi over the years have been Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo, Hector Espino, Leon Durham and Luis Tiant, Sr. Depite the array of talent, the Tuneros turned in just three winning records and one playoff appearance in 15 full LMB seasons .
After the last incarnation of the Tuneros moved to Chihuahua for the 2007 campaign, conditions at Estadio 20 de Noviembre deteriorated to the point where only occasional concerts were being held there. The ballpark was remodeled in 2018 and hosted a preseason series between Mexico City and Oaxaca one year later. The SLP Cup will open on Friday, April 23 with a game between Monterrey and an undetermined opponent and wrap up Sunday, May 16 when Aguascalientes meets Guadalajara. Durango and Leon are the other teams scheduled to play.
SAN LUIS POTOSI CUP 2021 Schedule
April 23-24-25: Monterrey Sultanes vs. TBD
April 30-May 1-2: Durango Generales vs. Aguascalientes Rieleros
May 7-8-9: Monterrey Sultanes vs. Leon Bravos
May 14-15-16: Aguascalientes Rieleros vs. Guadalajara Mariachis
CASTRO ACCUSES CONADE OF BLOCKING OLYMPIC FUNDS
After defeating the United States along the way and qualifying via the 2019-20 WBSC Premier12 tournament to play in the Olympic Games for the first time, Mexico's national team is standing still and without funding towards the Summer Games scheduled to be held this July and August in Tokyo. In an interview with Mexico City's Proceso, Mexican manager Juan Gabriel Castro and GM Kundy Gutiérrez launched a call for help and publicly denounced that CONADE, led by Ana Guevara, has kept the resources that the federal government had already assigned them.
Guevara and CONADE (an acronym for National Commission on Physical Culture and Sports) have come under withering criticism in the past several months for their handling of various sports at the national level. According to Proceso writer Beatriz Pereyra, five months prior to the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Mexican Baseball National Team was “ruined” after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador left the project in the hands of Guevara, CONADE's General Director. She has since been accused of corruption, poor monetary practices, involvement with bribes and other irregularities during her first year in that office in a recently released 162-page audit.
In Mexico's first Olympic baseball commitment in history, the national representative must arrive in the capital of Japan no later than the end of June to comply with the 14 days of isolation required by the protocol for the covid-19 pandemic, allowing the players and coaches to get used to the time change and play a series of preliminary games. Pereyra says that means the baseball team has only four months to be ready, but so far there isn't even a working shortlist of an itinerary.
In an interview with Proceso, Castro and Gutiérrez called for assistance so CONADE will begin to disperse the budget assigned by the federal government and they can start hiring and working with a team of scouts, statistical analysts, physical therapists, nutritionists, specialists in doping and psychology.
“We wanted to keep quiet because we were waiting for what was going to happen,” said Castro. “We can no longer be silent and we have to be honest with people. I don't want to lie. The project had already been in place for a year, the Olympic Games were postponed and everything stopped. Last October, they told us that we were going to start and four months have passed and everything is still stopped.”
Gutierrez adds that the allocated money amounts to 28 million peso to be used to form a pre-selection of 150 players which will be refined until there are 28 players: 24 for the active roster and four reserve players. Then there the services of the coaching body and the salaries of the aforementioned personnel, as well as the costs of accommodation, food, logistics in Japan and requirements related to the Wuhan virus. From Gutierrez' point of view, it is urgent to be certain when the resources will begin to flow, since the people they have contacted to work with the Verdes Grande are already being hired by other teams.
Six nations are slated to compete in Olympic baseball this summer. In addition to Mexico, host Japan, South Korea and Israel occupy four of the berths, while two more qualifying tournaments are due to determine occupants of the final two slots.