Sunday, October 18, 2009

MEXICAN BASEBALL ROAD TRIP (Stop #3): Guasave, Sinaloa

The next visit on our 24-city Baseball Mexico Road Trip is Guasave, Sinaloa, which can easily be reached by staying on Highway 15 for 91 miles from our last stop to the south, Culiacan.

A city of about 67,000 people (plus another 200,000 in the surrounding municipality), Guasave is, like most Mex Pac venues, an agricultural center. The major crops in the area are corn, wheat, sorghum, soy, beans and cotton. The land around Guasave is generally rocky and the climate is usually very dry and warm, with an average of about 15 inches of rain a year and an annual temperature of 80 degrees.

While Guasave is only 22 miles east from the Gulf of California, the major source of the city’s water is the Sinaloa River, which starts in the southwest corner of the state of Chihuahua and flows into the gulf. The river includes Navachiste Bay, which is known for aquatic sports and fishing; and San Ignacio Bay, noted for its clean landscape, calm waters and abundance of flora and fauna. Further towards the gulf from Guasave are The Glorias, a very popular stretch of the river known for its beaches and terrific seafood like shrimp meatballs. Along the river, there are many poplars and willows lining the shores.

Among the more interesting spots for travelers to visit are the 17th century ruins of Guasave’s Old Town, the Nio ruins (which date back to 1767), and Tamazula, a colonial site featuring a museum and church first built in 1820. Guasave is well known for the raising of thoroughbred horses. Guasave is (again like most LMP cities) not a tourist destination, but it is a slice of authentic northern Mexico with its own enjoyments, and the lifestyle there is considered very traditional.

Guasave is represented in the Mexican Pacific League by the Algodoneros (or “Cotton Pickers”). The team is in its 40th year of MexPac baseball after forming in 1970. They won the LMP pennant in only their second season under manager Vinicio Garcia (going 1-5 in the Caribbean Series that winter), but have not finished higher than third place in the standings since then. The Algodoneros play their home games at Estadio Francisco Carranza Limon, which seats 8,000 spectators.

NEXT WEEK: Mexican Baseball Road Trip (Los Mochis, Sinaloa)

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