Friday, August 28, 2009


The Saltillo Saraperos are just one win away from copping only their second Mexican League pennant since joining the Liga in 1970. Saltillo’s lone title came in 1980, when all-time greats Andres Mora and Juan Navarette anchored the team.
Heading into the weekend, the Saraperos held a 3 games to 2 lead over the Quintana Roo Tigres in the best-of-seven LMB Championship Series.

GAME 1: Saltillo 7, Quintana Roo 6 (Saturday, August 22 in Saltillo)
The Saraperos opened the series with a 7-6 win at home last Saturday as Saltillo came back from a 6-2 deficit with five runs in the fifth inning, featuring a two-run Nelson Teilon single and a three-run homer by Jesus Cota. Reliever Fernando Villalobos got the win after pitching 3.1 scoreless innings. Tigres starter Pablo Ortega absorbed the loss.

GAME 2: Saltillo 6, Quintana Roo 3 (Sunday, August 23 in Saltillo)
Saltillo made it a 2-0 series with a 6-3 win Sunday night. Cota clobbered his second homer of the finals and Saraperos starter Rafael Diaz went 6.2 strong innings, giving up three runs on nine hits. The game was tied at 3-3 before Cota poked a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning. The left fielder added an insurance run in the eighth on a wild pitch.

GAME 3: Quintana Roo 8, Saltillo 3 (Tuesday, August 25 in Cancun)
The series shifted to Cancun for Game 3 Tuesday night, and the Tigres took an 8-3 win thanks in no small part to a six-run first inning, three tallies coming on Albino Contreras’ bases-loaded triple. Quintana Roo starter Francisco Cordova let in one run on yet another Cota homer, but finished after seven innings with just three hits allowed and no walks.

GAME 4: Quintana Roo 6, Saltillo 1 (Wednesday, August 26 in Cancun)
The Tigres evened the series at two games apiece Wednesday night with a solid 6-1 win over the Saraperos. Contreras followed up his solid Game 3 performance with a two-run homer in the second, and nailing Saltillo’s Refugio Cervantes trying to stretch a single into a double in the fourth with a strong throw from left field. Cota homered foe the fourth game in a row.

GAME 5: Saltillo 10, Quintana Roo 5 (Thursday, August 27 in Cancun)
Saltillo became the first road team to win in the series Thursday night, bopping the Tigres, 10-5. This was decided fairly early as Hernando Arredondo crashed a grand slam homer in the second inning and Jonathan Aceves belted a grand slam of his own in the fourth. Saraperos starting pitcher Mario Mendoza, Jr. got the win with six decent innings of work.

Game 6 was set for Saturday night in Saltillo, with Game 7 (if needed) slated on Sunday night. The Saraperos drew 31,793 for the first two games of the series, while 24,778 fans clicked the turnstiles for the three midweek contests in Cancun.


Although Guaymas team officials were able to hold off fans outside the ballpark who wanted to watch the sold-out game going on inside, there was nothing that could hold off Rafael “El Toro” Flores and his Ostioneros from defeating Agua Prieta, 1-0, last Sunday to close out their Mexican Northern League championship series in five games.
Flores drove in Julian Laurean with the game’s only run by drilling a pitch off the wall in the bottom of the first, and then went on to toss a shutout in his fifth complete game of the postseason to cinch the pennant for Guaymas, who ended the Vaqueros’ three-year run for the Norte championship.
Over 5,000 fans jammed Guaymas’ Estadio Abelardo L. Rodriguez for the game.


Starter Raymundo Berrones allowed no hits through 4.2 innings on the mound and Raul Lopez fanned the final three batters in relief after earlier cracking a two-run homer to lead Reynosa to a one-hit 6-0 shutout of Japan in their International Division semifinal game Wednesday at the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania. Leadoff hitter Oscar Noguera opened the bottom of the first inning with a single to right, followed by Rojas’ two-run bomb. By the end of the frame, Mexico had sent its entire batting order to the plate and had a 5-0 lead that held up the rest of the way.
Reynosa went through their Group D pool schedule undefeated. They defeated Canada, 2-1, in seven innings in the opener for both countries when, with two runners on base, Mario Cardenas topped a dribbler in front of the plate that Canadian pitcher Anthony Cusati picked up and threw to first base, which was unoccupied because first baseman Katie Reyes also charged the ball on the play and left her station open, allowing the winning run to score. After a 13-0 plastering of the European champions from Germany halted after four innings, Mexico got solo homers from Berrones, Luis Trevino and Luis Perez to beat Taiwan, 3-2, in another one-hitter. Mexican pitchers have combined for three one-hitters and gave up just seven hits over four games.
Reynosa was set to face Taiwan for the International title Saturday, with the winner facing the USA champions Sunday for the World Series championship.


Manuel Paez’ two-out single to right field and a subsequent error on the play by Venezuela’s Rainiero Coa led to Fernando Perez scoring the game-winning run all the way from first base in the bottom of the ninth inning as Mexico’s 16-Under National Team defeated Venezuela, 11-10, last Sunday in Taiwan to cop third place in the IBAF AA World Youth Baseball Championship tournament.
Paez batted 3-for-4 for the game, driving in four runs along the way. He also came in from shortstop to pitch 2.1 innings of relief, but it was Alexandro Delgado who closed the game with two scoreless entradas to earn the win out of the bullpen. Paez finished the tournament with a .517 batting average over seven games, second on the team to Adolfo Lopez’ .577 average (which was third among all players). Ivan Rivera led Mexico’s pitchers with two of the team’s four wins, Delgado’s 3.86 ERA was the best among four starters, and Paez picked up two saves in relief.
Mexico fell to the United States, 9-5, last Saturday in the semifinals. The USA then beat Cuba, 7-6, in the title game.

HISTORIA MEXICANA 5: The 20th Century and Modern-day Mexico

Following the assassination of Francisco Madero and general Victoriano Huerta’s declaration of himself as president in 1913, Mexico’s final revolution continued for several more years as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata (who had once been comrades in arms of Huerta) turned their forces against him. American president Woodrow Wilson pulled his support of Huerta off the table after Madero’s assassination and began backing Villa and Zapata, as well as Sonora governor Alvaro Obregon and Coahuila governor Venustiano Carranza. Now boxed in, Huerta fled the country in 1914. However, the four revolutionaries broke into separate camps of Constitutionalists and Conventionists, the latter of which were unified in their desire to keep Carranza from taking over the country. Vicious fighting took place for the next several years in which thousands of people perished and the likes of Villa, Zapata, Carranza and Obregon all met the wrong end of a gun. It wasn’t until the mid-1930’s (after several years in which Plutarco Elias Calles controlled many events from inside and outside the government) that some semblance of stability was achieved…just in time for the Great Depression.
The Thirties can be remembered when what is now the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI, first began a decades-long political rule of Mexico, initially under Calles. The PRI was founded in 1929, and eventually came to dominate Mexican politics for the rest of the 20th Century. Ironically, Calles was exiled in 1936 (two years after Lazaro Cardenas became president) in a move that took the army out of direct political power. Cardenas went on to nationalize Mexico’s oil and electric industries, created the National Polytechnic Institute, and began a series of land reforms and distributed free textbooks to schoolchildren across the country. Cardenas stepped down from office in 1940, and is said to be the only president from the PRI’s 70-year dynasty who did not use the office to make himself wealthy.
Although his successor, Manuel Avila, undid the land reforms instituted by Cardenas while further entrenching the PRI machine, Mexico continued a 40-year period of growth that is called the Milagro Mexicano (or “Mexican Miracle”) despite a number of economic difficulties along the way that led to the nationalization of banks and two devaluations of the peso. A third devaluation of the peso in 1994 plunged the economy into the country’s worst recession in half a century. That year also marked the beginning of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, in which Mexico joined the United States and Canada in an economic bloc based on liberalized trade rules between the three countries.
Over this period, though, the PRI was steadily losing its grip on power, and finally lost the presidency after seven decades when Vicente Fox of the Partido Accion Nacional defeated PRI incumbent Ernesto Zedillo in 2000. To his credit, Zedillo conceded defeat on national radio the night of the election, thereby quashing potential PRI disputes of the result. After six years, Fox stepped down and was replaced in 2006 by fellow PAN member Felipe Calderon, who won a hotly-contested election against Party of Democratic Revolution candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador. The conservative Calderon has capped salaries of public officials while stepping up the government’s battle against the drug cartels that have paralyzed Mexico’s northern border.
Modern-day Mexico covers nearly 2 million square kilometers, or about three times the size of the state of Texas. It is a nation of over 100 million people (including 20 million residents in Mexico City), third most-populous in the Western hemisphere. Mexico’s gross domestic product of US$1.35 trillion is the 12th largest in the world. The country’s per capita income of US$12,800 is third-highest in Latin America and has been growing steadily, but there is still a great deal of poverty within its borders. Mexico has a 92 percent literacy rate, with compulsory education for children between 6 and 15 years of age.