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Baseball Analysis   Bruce Baskin 

B a s e b a l l   M e x i c o
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            The Mexican Baseball Fiesta will return to Tucson for an eleventh year for four nights, beginning this Thursday. The international event mainly comprised of teams from the Mexican Pacific League began in 2011 and completed its ninth year in 2019 before shutting down operations in 2020 due to Wuhan virus health restrictions.


            The MBF involves a partnership with Mexican Pacific League teams, many of which journey to the US for preseason training camps. The event is overseen by Mike Feder, a 30-year minor league general manager (15 of those in Tucson) as President of the MBF, and founder/partner Francisco Gamez, who played ten winters in the Mex Pac, which annually draws many more fans per game than any minor league north of the border.


            Mexican Baseball Fiesta games have an electricity in the air not seen during MLB spring training in February and March with music playing all the time, mascots on the field, fans dancing in the stands and authentic Mexican food like tacos, tortas and burritos instead of hot dogs and peanuts (although those are available at concession stands. Fans follow their teams across the border with such fierce loyalty and pass their love of the game on from generation to generation. It’s not uncommon to see three generations of families enjoying a game together, all wearing replica jerseys of their favorite team.


            Fom its roots in Tucson, the Mexican Baseball Fiesta has grown throughout Arizona and occasionally into California, Nevada and New Mexico. This year, the Fiesta increased its stay in the Phoenix area with an extra day in Maryvale, where the Hermosillo Naranjeros played single games against a team of Obregon, Navojoa and Guasave players at the Brewers spring ballpark September 23 and 24. That was followed by three doubleheaders in Mesa over the just-concluded weekend at Sloan Park, training camp home of the Cubs.


            The event now moves to Tucson (known to some as “Optics Valley” due to the 150 Tucson companies are involved in the design and manufacture of optics and optoelectronics systems) for seven games between Thursday and Sunday, beginning with an October 6 doubleader featuring Obregon and Navojoa in the 5:05PM opener followed by a nightcap between Hermosillo and the University of Arizona. In all, four LMP teams (Hermosillo, Obregon, Navojoa and Mexicali) will play in Tucson at Kino Stadium, an 11,500-seat former spring home to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox as well as a Tucson Pacific Coast League team. The facility, which opened in 1998, is now used by the Tucson Saguaros, three-time champions of the independent Pecos League.


            Past ticket sales indicate that about 20 percent of the crowd is from Mexico. A few years ago, the Visit Tucson tourism organization did an economic impact study of the event and determined that the MBF generates over $1.5 million to Tucson's local economy. “We’re excited to partner with this great event for the eleventh year to bring Mexican baseball back to Tucson,” said Felipe Garcia, President/CEO of Visit Tucson. “The popularity of this event continues to grow, and we are proud to be a part of something that both locals and visitors look forward to every October. The Mexican Baseball Fiesta is the true definition of a quality cultural event and a boon to our community and economy.”





            The Mexican Baseball League will operate the Mexican Winter League for a second season in 2022. This year, the LIM will be divided into three divisions: North, Central and South. Its objective, according the the LMB, is to promote the young talents of participating clubs.


            LMB president Horacio de la Vega Flores said in a press release, “We applaud the efforts of the organizations that are part of the LIM in 2022. Likewise, we thank the authorities of the Yucatan State government, their host municipalities, as well as the municipality of Poza Rica, Veracruz, promoters of the development of our young talents.


            “Alejandro Kirk, today a baseball star in the Major Leagues, was forged in this circuit a few seasons ago. Fans will appreciate the players who will shine in the near future, players who will be a source of inspiration, zeal and professionalism of those who came before them and who are currently figures of Mexican baseball.”


The LIM's ten teams (including four combining players from two LMB clubs) and their home venues for the upcoming campaign are:


North Division

Monclova Acereros (Monclova Stadium), Monclova, Coahuila

Monterrey Sultanes (Estadio Monterrey), Monterrey, Nuevo León

Unión Laguna Algodoneros (Estadio de La Revolución), Torreón, Coahuila

Central Division

Mexico City Diablos Rojos/Oaxaca Guerreros (Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú), Mexico City, DF

Puebla Pericos (Estadio Hermanos Serdán), Puebla, Puebla

Veracruz Aguilas/Leon Bravos (Estadio Heriberto Jara Corona), Poza Rica, Veracruz

South Division

Aguascalientes Rieleros/Tijuana Toros (Campo Aureliano Centeno), Valladolid, Yucatan

Durango Generales (Campo Juan Rivero Alonzo), Tizimín, Yucatan

Guadalajara Mariachis/Tabasco Olmecas (Parque Miguel Hidalgo), Progreso, Yucatan

Yucatan Leones (Parque Eliseo Gómez), Umán, Yucatan


            Games in the North and Central divisions will begin on October 12 and one day later in the South. The regular season will close on November 27 in the South while in the North and Central, the schedule concludes on November 28. North and Central division clubs will play 24 games each while those of the South play a total of 28 contests.


            Central Division games will be played from Wednesdays through Sundays, with the exception of the fial game between Puebla and the Veracruz/Leon team on Monday, November 28. Games in the South will be held Thursdays to Sundays while in the North Division, games will be played without a set pattern with a maximum of two days of rest per team.


            In the Serie del Principe (Prince's Series) the champion will be defined and the best of five games will be crowned between December 3 and 8, closing at the ballpark of the highest-ranked seed. The title matchup will be determined by the top two teams based on the percentage of wins and losses, regardless of which division they belong to. In case of a tie, a run-differential formula will be used. If a team from the South Division reaches the Serie del Principe, they would play in Merida's Kukulcán Park, home of the 2022 King's Series (Serie del Rey) champion Yucatan Leones.


            The rosters will be made up of a maximum of 28 players from the LMB Reserve Lists, as well as players authorized by the Liga office and in the process of signing. The age limit is 25 years, with a maximum of six free agents, among which there may be three foreigners.


            The current defending champions of the LIM (Liga Invernal de Mexico) are the Monclova Acereros, who defeated the Puebla Pericos in five games for the 2021 pennant.





            The Salon del a Fama's Pre-candidate Nomination Assembly was held last Friday to implement the voting ballots for the Election of the new immortals of Mexican baseball for induction in 2023.


            Eleven baseball players to be added to the final ballot were announced together with eight unnamed candidates who are being carried over from the last vote in 2020, thus integrating a ballot with fourteen candidates in the Mexican Baseball Players Category and a new Card with five candidates in the Mexican Players Category with a minimum of 7 seasons in Major Leagues. Of the 19 names on the ballot, a maximum of five will be elected.


            The eleven ballot newcomers selected were:

Players in Mexican Baseball Leagues: Miguel Flores, Germán Jiménez, Noe Munoz, Miguel Ojeda, Mike Paul, Roberto Ramirez, Javier Robles.

Mexicans with 7+ Years in the Major Leagues: Juan Gabriel Castro, Karim Garcia, Rodrigo López, Ismael Valdez.

            The Nomination Assembly was made up of Electoral Committee president Antonio de Valdes, Mexican League president Horacio de la Vega, Mexican Pacific League president Carlos Manrique, Salon de la Fama director Fancisco Padilla Davila and Salon historian Horacio Ibarra.


            Reults of the election will be announced in February 2023. The most recent election resulted in a Class of 2021 that included players Matias Carrillo, Vinny Castilla, Eduardo Jimenez, Isidro Marquez and Jose Luis Sandoval; veteran William “Bonnie” Serrell and journalist Jorge Menendez Torre.


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