Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MEXICAN BASEBALL ROAD TRIP (Stop #13): Reynosa, Tamaulipas

Our Road Trip this week takes us eastbound from Nuevo Laredo on Highway 2 along the Rio Grande to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, which is located across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas. According to the 2005 census, Reynosa's population was 507,998 for the city.

Reynosa was founded on March 14, 1749 with 297 inhabitants by Carlos Cantú under the command of the Count of Sierra Gorda, Jose de Escandon. However, due to flooding in the area on July 4, 1802, they decided to move five miles to the east while keeping the same margin between them and the Rio Grande. It was not until 1926 that the state government recognized Reynosa as a city.

It was first named Villa de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Reynosa. The pioneers of the town all came from from El Nuevo Reino de León, especially from Monterrey, Cadereyta, Cerralvo and El Pilón. The town originally was composed of 50 families, and was given the name of Reynosa as a tribute to a town with the same name in Spain. From 1846 until 1848, the township was captured and temporarily held by the United States Army during the War of Texas until it was permanently ceded to Mexico and the border between the two countries redrawn along the Rio Grande.

Reynosa extends across 1,219 square miles, representing 3.7 per cent of the Tamaulipas territory. Today it is the location of several satellite U.S. companies doing business to take advantage of low labor rates, sparse benefits and industry incentives (as is the case in so many Mexican cities along the border. The township and area have been featured in the news due to the reported discovery of the largest seized weapons cache in Mexican drug cartel history.

The Reynosa Broncos are a Mexican League team that plays its home games in 10,000-seat Estadio Adolfo Lopez Mateos. Reynosa has won one pennant in their history by copping the flag in 1969 by topping Monterrey in the finals, but lost in seven games to the Mexico City Diablos Rojos in 1981 for the only other time it has played in the LMB championship series. That set was unique in Mexican baseball history in that despite the series going the full seven games, neither team won a single home game.

The Broncos finished the 2009 regular season with a 58-47 record to qualify for the playoffs. Reynosa won two of the first three games in their Northern Zone semifinal series with Saltillo, but then dropped three contests in a row to the eventual Liga champions to be eliminated from the postseason.

NEXT ROAD TRIP STOP (#14): Monterrey, Nuevo Leon

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