Saturday, October 3, 2009

TIGRES OWNER SEEKS SALE TO LOCAL BUYERS


The owner of one of the most storied franchises in Mexican League baseball is seeking to sell the team. Quintana Roo Tigres owner Carlos Peralta applied to the Liga Assembly at their annual convention to sell the club, preferably to a new ownership group that would keep the team in Cancun. The Tigres were founded in 1955 by Peralta's father, Alejo Peralta, who was the driving force behind saving the financially-plagued Liga.

LMB president Plinio Escalante said it will be sad to see the Peralta family out of baseball after more than five decades, and that the team had 30 days to submit a proposal for the selling of the team to the Liga Assembly. Team president Cuauhtemoc Rodriguez says the Tigres’ priority is to remain in Cancun, where “the government has treated us wonderfully and it’s just a matter of agreeing to stay in this city.”

Also on the clock with the LMB Assembly is a 30-day deadline dealing with the restructuring of ownership shares with the Nuevo Laredo Tecolotes and a November 15 deadline for the Chihuahua Dorados to clarify their operating situation.

SALTILLO OWNER NAMED LMB EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

The owner of the 2009 Mexican League champion Saltillo Saraperos, Don Alvaro Ley (pictured, left), was named the winner of the Alejo Peralta Executive of the Year award at the Liga’s gala dinner during their annual convention held in Cholula, Puebla in late September. The award was named in honor of Peralta, a Puebla native who was a dominant figure in Mexican baseball for nearly four decades.


Ley was handed the award by Puebla state governor Mario Marin Torres. Upon receiving the trophy, Ley told the assembled crowd that the Saltillo fans who’d waited 40 years for the Saraperos’ first outright pennant were the “impetus” for his players this year. Ley revealed that Coahuila governor Sergio Ley told him at the start of the season that if the Saraperos won the pennant, he’d name a street after Don Alvaro.


Also at the dinner, Puebla Pericos team president Rafael Moreno, who also headed the Convention Organizing Committee, presented the LMB Manager of the Year trophy to Pericos skipper Alfonso “Houston” Jimenez (pictured, right).

FOUR EX-PLAYERS NOMINATED FOR 2010 SALON BALLOT


Four former players have been placed on the 2010 election ballot for the Salon de la Fama in Monterrey. Alonso Tellez, Derek Bryant, Armando Reynoso (pictured) and Hector Heredia were nominated by the Mexican League’s Salon Nominating Committee.


They join fellow ex-players Luis Alfonso Cruz, Luis Fernando Mendez, Ricardo Solis, Rodolfo Hernandez, Fernando Villaescusa and Gerardo Sanchez on the ballot next year.


Also, one umpire will be chosen in 2010 from among Fernando Guerrero, Antonio Calderon, Efrain Ibarra, Jose Concepcion Rodriguez and one more future nominee.

MEX PAC UMPIRES TRAINING FOR UPCOMING SEASON


While managers, coaches and players are tuning up for next weekend’s openers in the Mexican Pacific League, the men in blue have been spending time in training camp, too.

Mex Pac umpires opened their own eight-day preseason session last Wednesday in Hermosillo under the director of LMP umpire instructor Jorge Bauza. In all, 19 umpires were on the field working on calling pitches and dealing with various in-game situations they’ll be expected to face this winter. At the end of camp, 16 umpires will be divided into four quartets that will work all Mex Pac games in the regular season and playoffs, with the remaining three umps placed on a reserve list.

“The course is basically a review of technique questions; that is to say that they’re sharpening up on things they already know while addressing unique things,” said Bauza. “The other aspect is to review some plays that are very common, but the criteria are different for making the calls.”

LMP manager Oviel Dennis added that the umpires “are an important part of our organization, and the LMP wants to hear their opinions and concerns. For that reason, we’re working with them in favor of improving their professional qualification.”

PRESEASON TOURNAMENT BEING PLAYED IN TIJUANA

Winter league baseball has returned to Tijuana, if only for one weekend. The border city is hosting a Beisbol Fest this weekend featuring four Mexican Pacific League teams at 18,000-seat Estadio Calimax.
The Beisbol Fest was slated to open Thursday, October 1 with a doubleheader as the Culiacan Tomateros were to play the Obregon Yaquis in the opener, followed by a nightcap contest between the Hermosillo Naranjeros and the Mexicali Aguilas. The four teams were scheduled to play a three-day round robin.
After the Mexican League’s Tijuana Potros moved to Reynosa following the 2008 season, a franchise in the independent Golden Baseball League was awarded to Tijuana for 2009, but the swine flu outbreak in Mexico earlier this year pushed back the team’s first season to 2010. A recent story announced a Golden League expansion team in Hawaii made no mention of a team in Tijuana for 2010, stating the new Maui club would play home games against teams “from Canada, California, Arizona and Utah.”
Tijuana is a past member of the Mexican Pacific League, and won pennants in 1988 and 1991.

A-GON HITS 40TH HOMER FOR SAN DIEGO


San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez crashed his career-high 40th homer last Sunday in a 7-4 loss to Arizona at Phoenix’s Chase Field. He joins Greg Vaughn, Phil Nevin and Ken Caminiti as the only Padres to ever hit 40 homers in a season, and is the first San Diego player to hit 35+ homers two straight years.
Gonzalez spent many years growing up in Obregon, and represented Mexico in both the Caribbean Series and World Baseball Classic this year. Padres manager Bud Black stated, “It’s a great accomplishment….He’s one of the premier power hitters in the National League.”
Gonzalez has been nominated for the 2009 Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who combines good play with sportsmanship and community involvement.

MEXICAN BASEBALL ROAD TRIP (Stop #1): Mazatlan, Sinaloa



For the next few months, Baseball Mexico is going to bring you along on a road trip as we virtually travel through all 24 cities with teams in the Mexican League or Mexican Pacific Leagues. We’ll end up in Cancun at the end of the trip, but our first stop on the west coast is the Mex Pac’s most glamorous city: Mazatlan.
Named after a native word for "place of the Deer," Mazatlan is first and foremost the largest Pacific Coast seaport between Los Angeles and the Panama Canal, in which tourism gradually developed as an adjunct to its prior success as the "Shrimp Capital of the World." Mazatlan’s thriving seafood industry lessens the need for tourist dollars that are the sole economic driver of other cities on Mexico’s west coast.


While there are tourists who come for the outstanding sports fishing, a lot more people visit Mazatlan for its year-round sunshine and temperate climate. While the other seven LMP cities can get frying-pan hot during the summer and even the winter, Mazatlan sits just south of the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, which blocks breezes off the ocean from getting to places like Obregon, Culiacan and Hermosillo. Mazatlan has miles of Pacific beaches lined by a seawall promenade called the Malecon. Visitors also indulge in golf, bicycling, tennis and water sports. However, if that's all any traveler in Mazatlan does, they'll miss the essence of the city.


There is an area in Mazatlan called the Zona Dorado, or “Gold Zone,” and that’s where the tourists generally congregate (and there are a lot of them). If visitors head outside the Gold Zone, they'll find that there is a lot more to Mazatlan than expensive hotels and restaurants. While the downtown core can’t be called “Old Mexico” in style because Pacific coast cities were mostly fishing villages until the 20th century, Mazatlan is a lively place with lots of interesting places to go. It’s a lot less expensive than the Zona Dorado, too. English is probably spoken in Mazatlan more than any other city in the LMP except perhaps Mexicali, which is right on the California border.


The Mazatlan Venados have historically been one of the strongest franchises in the Mexican Pacific League. The Venados (or "Deer") have won eight pennants in the modern LMP, plus another five flags in the old winter Pacific Coast League in the 1940’s and 50’s. Mazatlan survived a first round loss in January 2005 as the "lucky loser" team, and then went on to capture the Mex Pac pennant and their first Caribbean Series title playing in front of their home fans at 12,000-seat Estadio Teodoro Mariscal.
The Venados enter the 2009-10 season as defending Mex Pac champions.


NEXT WEEK: Mexican Baseball Road Trip (Culiacan, Sinaloa)