Saturday, October 31, 2009


The Mazatlan Venados won five straight games last week to pass Hermosillo on the Mexican Pacific League leaderboard. The Venados came into the weekend with an 11-6-0 record, a half-game up on the 10-6-1 Naranjeros, who went 2-4 last week.
Los Mochis is in third place at 9-7-1, Mexicali and Navojoa are tied for fourth with 9-8-0 marks, followed by 8-9-1 Obregon, 6-9-1 Culiacan and 3-12-1 Guasave. It was a rough week for the Algodoneros, who were swept in consecutive road series in Mazatlan and Navojoa.
Mochis first baseman Sandy Madera (pictured) has taken the MexPac batting lead with a .413 average over 17 games. Madera’s Caneros teammate Sebastian Valle and Culiacan’s Refugio Cervantes are tied for the lead in homers at five apiece, while Cervantes and Hermosillo’s Darnell McDonald are knotted up at the top of the RBI list with 19 each.
Several pitchers have fared well early, perhaps none more so than Mazatlan’s Oscar Bustillos, who is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and seven hits allowed 17 innings over three starts.


While the Mexican Pacific League is entering the third week of winterball action, two of the other three Caribbean Series circuits have also begun regular season play.
The Caracas Leones and Magallenes Navegantes are battling for the early lead in the Venezuelan League standings. Caracas is 13-4 for a one-game lead over Magallenes. Well-travelled minor league veteran Selwyn Langainge leads batters with a .424 average. Among pitchers, Margarita’s Carlos Monasterios is 3-0 with an 0.64 ERA.
In the Dominican League, the Escogido Leones are 7-3 and hold a one-game lead over the Licey Tigres and Este Toros, who are both 6-4. Victor Mercedes of Este leads Dominican batters with a .412 average, while pitcher Tobi Stoner of Escogido is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA.
The Puerto Rico Baseball League has not begun play. Opening day in the six-team league is scheduled for November 12.


The season may be over for the Mexican League’s Mexico City Diablos Rojos, but the 123 homers belted by the team in 2009 are still producing results. A program bankrolled by the Banamex national bank and administered by the Diablos and the Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation has donated MX$6,150,000 (or about US$473,000) to 123 different public and private institutions, with MX$25,000 earmarked for a different organization every time a Mexico City batter cranked out a longball.
The Homeruns Banamex effort began in 1996, with over 900 grants being awarded since, including four consecutive seasons of 100 or more grants to various social, educational, health, cultural and sports associations in Mexico.
Diablos designated hitter Roberto Saucedo (pictured) accounted for MX$600,000 in donations alone by whacking out 24 homers this summer, while Miguel Ojeda and Carlos Valencia each belted 17 homers to total MX$850,000 in grant money between them.
A list of grant recipients was posted on the Mexican League website October 29.


Mazatlan won five of six games last week, including a three-game sweep of Guasave. Heber Gomez hit a game-winning 13th-inning single in a 2-1 Venados triumph October 23 as Mazatlan went on to hold the Algodoneros to three runs over the weekend series.
Pablo Ortega hurled seven frames in a 3-0 blanking of Hermosillo last Tuesday, followed by a 2-1 win over the Naranjeros Wednesday as Christian Quintero’s walkoff single in the 9th ended it.


Hermosillo lost two of three home games against Los Mochis last weekend, avoiding a sweep with a 10-4 win last Sunday as Trent Oeltgen hit two doubles and a single, scoring three runs with an RBI.
The Naranjeros then lost the first two games of a midweek series in Mazatlan before topping the Venados, 4-2, Thursday night. Oeltgen had another strong night with a single and triple, scoring once and driving in two to back up Juan Delgadillo’s six innings of two-hit shutout pitching.


Los Mochis went 3-3 last week to hang onto third place. The Caneros won two of three in Hermosillo last weekend. Sebastian Valle homered and drove in three in an 8-6 win over the Orangemen October 23, and last year’s ERA champ, Ismael Castillo, went six innings in Mochis’ 3-1 win a day later.
The Caneros then lost two home games against Obregon after winning Tuesday’s opener, 9-4, as Saul Soto went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs while Ivan Terrazas doubled twice with three RBIs.


Mexicali took two of three home games against Navojoa last weekend, thanks to the bat of Brad Snyder. The Cubs farmhand had four hits and two RBIs in the Aguilas’ 9-8, ten-inning win over the Mayos on October 23, and went 2-for-3 with three ribbies in last Sunday’s 9-4 victory over Navojoa.
The Aguilas then lost two home contests with Culiacan before a 6-4 win Thursday night as Snyder doubled and stroked a two-run homer while Adam Rosales scored three runs for Mexicali.


Navojoa won four of six games to pull into a fourth-place tie with Mexicali. The Mayos lost two of three against Mexicali last weekend, winning a 9-7 Saturday match behind Abel Martinez’ three-hit work.
The Mayos went on to sweep Guasave in a midweek set. Raul Lopez had a homer and three RBIs in a 9-6 win Tuesday, Javier Robles’ two homers paced a 6-4 Wednesday victory, and Navojoa broke out the brooms Thursday when Adan Munoz’ three-run homer helped the Mayos to a 12-4 triumph.


Obregon went 2-1 against both Culiacan and Los Mochis to end last week three games out of first. The Yaquis clobbered the Tomateros 20-6 October 23 as John Mayberry Jr. went 5-for-6 with a homer, scoring five runs and driving in three. Obregon beat Culiacan one night later, 12-3.
After losing 9-4 in Mochis on Tuesday the Yaquis won the next two. Neil Sellers was 5-for-5 and homered in Wednesday’s 7-4 win, and Carlos Valencia hit a three-run homer in a 5-4 victory Thursday.


Culiacan won three of four games after losing their first two against Obregon. The Tomateros broke through Sunday with an 8-2 triumph behind Mike Cervenak’s homer and three RBIs.
The Tomato Growers then won two straight in Mexicali. Refugio Cervantes hit a grand slam en route to a six-RBI night as Culiacan beat the Aguilas, 12-5, Tuesday. Dee Brown was 2-for-4 with a homer in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Mexicali as starter Chris Waters let in one run in 6.2 innings.


Guasave had a week they’d rather forget, losing all six games they played. The Algodoneros wasted 8.1 shutout innings by starter Jim McGrane October 23 in a 1-0, 13-inning loss to Mazatlan, and David Welch’s five innings of one-run ball went for naught in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Venados.
Guasave then lost three straight in Navojoa. Leonardo Heras hit a two-run homer in the opener, Japhet Amador doubled and homered in Wednesday’s loss and Marshall McDougall homered Thursday.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE Results (10-23-09 through 10-29-09)

FRIDAY, October 23

Obregon 20, Culiacan 6
O-John Mayberry 5-6/HR/5R/3RBI, C-Refugio Cervantes 2HRs

Los Mochis 8, Hermosillo 6
LM-Sebastian Valle HR/2B/3RBI, H-Darnell McDonald 3RHR

Mazatlan 2, Guasave 1 (13)
MZ-Heber Gomez GW1B, Ehren Wasserman 5IP/0R/2H), G-Jim McGrane 8.1IP/0R/9K

Mexicali 9, Navojoa 8 (10)
MX-Brad Snyder 4-5/2RBI, Matt Camp 3H/3R/2RBI, N-Francisco Arias 3-4/2B/4RBI

SATURDAY, October 24

Obregon 12, Culiacan 3
O-Jesus Rodriguez 4IP/2H/0R, Hernando Arredondo HR/3RBI, C-Mike Cervenak 2H/R/RBI

Los Mochis 3, Hermsillo 1
LM-Ismael Castillo 6IP/1R/4H, Ivan Terrazas 2-4/RBI, H-Luis Alfonso Garcia HR

Mazatlan 4, Guasave 2
MZ-John Lindsey 3-4/2B/2RBI, G-RP Sergio Mora 3.2IP/0R/2H

Navojoa 9, Mexicali 7 (12)
N-Abel Martinez 3H/2R/RBI, MX-Matt Camp 3-4/2R/2RBI

SUNDAY, October 25

Culiacan 8, Obregon 2
C-Mike Cervenak 3H/HR/3RBI, Sergio Gastelum 2H/3BB/3R, O-Flavio Romero 2H/HR/2RBI

Hermosillo 10, Los Mochis 4
H-Trent Oeltgen 3H/2 2B/3R/RBI, Geronimo Gil HR/3RBI, LM-Sandy Madera 3-3/2B/R/RBI
Mazatlan 1, Guasave 0
MZ-Oscar Bustillos 6IP/1H/0R, Miguel Ojeda 2B/R, G-David Welch 5IP/1R/6K
Mexicali 9, Navojoa 4
MX-Brad Snyder 2-4/R/3BI, Jeff Samardzija 5IP/4R, Oscar Rivera 2IP/0R/W, N-Matt Young 2B/R

TUESDAY, October 27
Culiacan 12, Mexicali 5
C-Refugio Cervantes GS/6RBI, Mike McCoy 3H/2R/RBI, MXI-Noe Munoz 2-3/2B/RBI

Los Mochis 9, Obregon 4
LM-Saul Soto 2-3/HR/3RBI, Ivan Terrazas 2-2Bs/2R/3RBI, O-Carlos Valencia 2RHR

Navojoa 9, Guasave 6
N-Raul Lopez 2B/HR/3RBI, G-Leonardo Heras 2RHR

Mazatlan 3, Hermosillo 0
MZ-Pablo Ortega 7IP/0R/5H, John Lindsey 2B/RBI, H-Humberto Cota 2-2Bs

WEDNESDAY, October 28

Culiacan 3, Mexicali 1
C-Dee Brown 2-4/HR, Chris Waters 6.2IP/1R/4H/5K, MX-Adam Rosales HR

Obregon 7, Los Mochis 4
O-Neil Sellers 5-5/HR/3RBI, Hernando Arredondo 2HRs, LM-Saul Soto and Sandy Madera HRs

Navojoa 6, Guasave 4
N-Javier Robles2-4/2HR, Brian Adams 6.2IP/3R/8K, G-Japhet Amador 3-4/2B/HR

Mazatlan 2, Hermosillo 1
MZ-Christian Quintero GWRBI B9, Esteban Loaiza 5IP/1R, H-Juan Pablo Oramas 5IP/0R/2H


Mexicali 6, Culiacan 4
MX-Brad Snyder 2B/2RHR. Adam Rosales 3R, C-Mike McCoy 2-4/HR, Refugio Cervantes HR

Obregon 5, Los Mochis 4
O-Carlos Valencia 3RHR, Scott Van Slyke 2H/2R, LM-Sebastian Valle 3RHR

Navojoa 12, Guasave 4
N-Adan Munoz 4-4/2B/3RHR, Matt Young HR/2R, G-Marshall McDougall 2-4/HR

Hermosillo 4, Mazatlan 2
H-Trent Oeltgen 2H/3B/R/2RBI, Juan Delgadillo 6IP/0R/2H, MZ-John Lindsey 3-4/2B/R


O30—N1 Mazatlan at Culiacan, Navojoa at Obregon, Los Mochis at Guasave, Mexicali at Hermosillo

NOV. 3-5 Mexicali at Mazatlan, Hermosillo at Culiacan, Guasave at Obregon, Navojoa at Los Mochis

NOV. 6-8 Culiacan at Guasave, Hermosillo at Navojoa, Obregon at Mexicali, Los Mochis at Mazatlan

MEXICAN BASEBALL ROAD TRIP (Stop #5): Navojoa, Sonora

From Los Mochis, Sinaloa, we’ll head north on Highway 15 for 124 miles and come to the fifth stop on our Road Trip: Navojoa, Sonora, home of the Mexican Pacific League Mayos.

The word “navojoa” comes from the Mayo Indian dialect root “navo” (or “prickly pear cactus”) and “jova” (or “house”), therefore meaning “the house of prickly pear cactus.” Even before the Spaniards arrived, the Mayo tribe had possession of the land including the Rio Mayo and the Mayo Valley, where the present-day city of Navojoa (pop. 103,312) now stands.
Although Spanish explorer Diego de Guzman arrived in the area in 1536 and Jesuit missionaries began settling locally in the 17th Century, Navojoa dates back to 1825, when it was part of the old State of the West formed after the Mexican Independence War starting in 1810. Later in 1831, it was separated and became part of the municipality of Alamos. As a result of political reform in 1869, it became a municipality.

Due to its geographical location, Navojoa has been considered from the start as the center of productivity of this region, combining with Ciudad Obregon and the Yaqui Valley to form the Mayo Valley, one of Mexico’s most productive agricultural regions. The most important businesses are concentrated in Navojoa, with the main northbound and southbound state highways and railroads come through this city as well as highways going to Alamos and Yavaros. Progress and modernization have been the result of Navojoa’s strategic location, along with the development of productive activities common to this area. The city has gained in importance over the years due to its relatively close proximity to the coast, desert and mountains, as well as being just 360 miles south of the Arizona border on Highway 16.

Known as “The Pearl of the Mayo”, Navojoa is a city of contrasts. In spite of its modern features, the city has preserved an array of important historical monuments in the area well worth visiting, among them the Municipal Palace, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, sculpted monuments such as one erected in memory of General Alvaro Obregon, a plaza with obelisks in honor of the Talamante brothers. When visiting the restaurants in Navojoa, visitors delight their palates with the most exquisite regional Sonoran dishes, as well as international cuisine.

The Navojoa Mayos started in the Mexican Pacific League in the 1959-60 season and, after a two-year absence between 1960 and 1962, are playing their 46th consecutive year of winter ball. The Mayos won the Mex Pac pennant in 1978-79 under manager Chuck Goggin, a former big league infielder, and with future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson on the roster. Navojoa repeated in 1999-20 for skipper Lorenzo Bundy, a two-time LMP Manager of the Year who spent the 2009 season as a coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“The Tribe” plays their home games at Estadio Manuel “Ciclon” Echevarria, an 11,500-seat ballpark named after a Salon de la Fama pitcher born in Navojoa.

NEXT WEEK (Stop #6): Ciudad Obregon, Sonora

Friday, October 23, 2009


Outfielder Darnell McDonald is off to a terrific start to the Mexican Pacific League season, as are his Hermosillo Narajeros. The 30-year-old brother of former Mexican League standout Donzell McDonald leads the Mex Pac in batting (.486) and RBIs (12) after nine games, and is tied for the lead in home runs with four. The right-handed Fort Collins, Colorado native hit .314 with nine homers in 73 games for Louisville of the International League last summer before hitting .267 in 47 major league contests with the Cincinnati Reds. McDonald was the Baltimore Orioles’ first round draft pick in 1997.

McDonald is a big reason why Hermosillo leads the LMP with an 8-2 record two weeks into the season. The Orangemen have leveled off somewhat after reeling off six straight wins to open the campaign, but they have still held first place in the standings every day heading into Friday’s weekend series opener at home against the Los Mochis Caneros.


Hermosillo opened a weekend series with Navojoa by clobbering the Mayos, 16-2, as Trent Oeltgen went 4-for-5 in the midst of a 21-hit, five-homer Orangemen attack. Hermosillo made it six out of the gate Saturday with a 7-6 squeaker as McDonald hit a grand slam before Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Mayos, though McDonald did crack another homer.

The Naranjeros traveled to Obregon, losing 2-1 on Tuesday to squander a six-inning, two-run start by Ty Taubenheim before coming back with a 5-3 win Wednesday as Jesus Castillo gave up no earned runs in five innings and Luis Alfonso Garcia hit a two-run homer. Hermosillo ended the set Thursday with a miraculous 5-4 win after trailing 4-0 in the ninth. A Carlos Gastelum bunt drew a throwing error by Obregon pitcher Sergio Lizarraga, resulting in the tying and winning runs scoring.


Los Mochis took two of three from Mazatlan to pull into a second-place tie last weekend. Ivan Terrazas homered in Saturday’s 6-4 loss before Sandy Madera’s two homers backed Logan Duran seven scoreless innings in Sunday’s 7-0 shutout. Terrazas and Sebastian Valle combined for seven hits and a pair of two-run homers in Monday’s 8-3 series clincher.

The Caneros next hosted Culiacan for a three-game set. Tuesday’s opener was a 10-inning 7-6 win for Mochis as Cody Smith’s walkoff RBI single ended the contest. Closer Jorge Vasquez tossed two perfect innings for the win. The Caneros lost, 7-3, on Wednesday night as Valle drove in all three Mochis runs with a homer and double. Valle then parked two homers Thursday night as the Caneros finished in an 8-8 suspended-game tie. He now has four homers in three games.


Mazatlan lost two of three in a weekend series at Los Mochis. The Venados began with a 6-4 win Saturday as Christian Quintero drilled a three-run homer in the ninth. Mochis came back with a rain-shortened 7-0 shutout as Quintero singled and walked for the Deer. Mazatlan lost the rubber match Monday, 8-3, although Ruben Rivera homered and John Lindsey went 2-for-4.

The Venados moved on to Navojoa, where they topped the Mayos, 2-1, on Tuesday as Miguel Ojeda’s homer supported Oscar Bustillo’s six innings of one-hit scoreless pitching. Ojeda sliced a two-run double Wednesday night, but Mazatlan fell by an 8-3 score. The Venados came up short once again on Thursday, losing to the Mayos, 3-2. Lindsey was 3-for-4 with a double and his first homer of the season for Mazatlan.


After a wretched start to the season, Mexicali swept a series with Obregon last weekend to reach the .500 mark. Brad Snyder had a homer and three RBIs and Roman Pena homered and scored three runs to key a 10-2 win over the Yaquis October 16. Oscar Robles had two hits and Brian Schlitter struck out the side in the ninth for a 6-2 Aguilas win the next day before Mexicali completed the sweep Sunday with a 14-7 trouncing of Obregon behind Robles’ four hits, two runs and three ribbies.

The Aguilas went to Guasave for a set, winning the first two games. Tuesday’s 6-4 win was keyed by Snyder’s homer and double as Mauricio Tabachnik tossed four shutout innings in relief for the win. On Wednesday, Mexicali took a 5-2 decision thanks to Matt Camp’s 4-for-5 night at the plate before absorbing an 11-3 pounding Thursday despite three hits from Adam Rosales and Emmanuel Valdez.


Navojoa lost two of three games last weekend in Hermosillo, beginning with a 16-2 thrashing at ther hands of the Naranjeros October 16 as Matt Young went 2-for-4 with a run for the Mayos. Christian Zazueta had a two-run single the next night in a 7-6 loss before Young had three hits and two runs to support starter Orlando Lara’s one-run effort over five innings in an 8-3 win to hand Hermosillo their first loss of the year.

The Mayos returned home to face defending champion Mazatlan, who beat Navojoa, 2-1, in Tuesday’s opener. Young’s homer accounted for the Mayos’ lone run. Navojoa came back for an 8-3 win Wednesday as Sergio Contreras went 3-for-3 and scored three times to back up Tim Gustafson’s strong six-inning, two-run start. The Mayos won the deciding game Thursday night by a 3-2 score. Concepcion Rodriguez batted 4-for-4 and scored three runs


Obregon stumbled into the week on the heels of a three-game sweep at the hands of Mexicali by an aggregate score of 30-11. Michael Taylor hit a two-run single in the opener, Albino Contreras scored once and drove in a run in an October 17 defeat and Neil Sellers collected three hits and two RBIs in last Sunday’s 14-7 rout, but it was essentially a lost weekend as the Yaquis pitching collectively collapsed.

Obregon then hosted Hermosillo in a series, opening with a 2-1 win over the Naranjeros on Tuesday behind starter Andrew Kown’s six shutout innings and Daniel Fornes’ 3-for-4 night at the plate. Carlos Valencia homered one night later, but Obregon fell to Hermosillo, 5-3, Wednesday night. The Yaquis had a 4-0 lead going into the ninth inning Thursday, but coughed up five runs to lose, 5-4, despite a 3-for-4 night for Valencia, who drove in three runs.


Guasave split two games at Culiacan before the rubber match was washed out last Monday. The Algodoneros lost the October 16 opener, 6-5, despite homers from the Mario Brothers (Valenzuela and Valdez) before copping a 6-3 win over the Tomateros a day later as Chris Carter singled and homered twice to finish the game with three RBIs.

The Algodoneros came back to Guasave for a series with Mexicali, losing Game One, 6-4, on Tuesday despite Cristian Presichi’s three hits and two RBIs. Guasave fell Wendesday night as well, dropping a 5-2 decision to the Aguilas although Jose Rodriguez had two singles and a walk to score once for the Cottoneers. Guasave avoided a series sweep with an 11-3 win Thursday night as Valenzuela went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and RBI single.


Culiacan entered the weekend in last place in the Mex Pac and came out in last. The Tomateros did beat Guasave, 6-5, October 16 as starter Chris Waters held the Cotton Pickers to two hits in 6.1 innings, but Culiacan fell 6-3 last Saturday despite homers from Dee Brown and Refugio Cervantes. The third game of the series was rained out both Sunday and Monday.

The Tomateros hit the road for Los Mochis, losing a 7-6, 10-inning heartbreaker Tuesday night, but don’t blame Cervantes (who homered twice and drove in five Culiacan runs). The Tomateros rode Mike Cervenak’s two homers and double for Wednesday’s 7-3 win as Cervenak finished with four ribbies. Sergio Gastelum drove in three runs on a single and double in Thursday’s 8-8 tie in a game that was suspended after ten innings.

MEXICAN BASEBALL ROAD TRIP (Stop #4): Los Mochis, Sinaloa

Heading 172 miles north from Guasave on Highway 15 in Sinaloa, our Mexican Baseball Road Trip takes us into Los Mochis, a city of 350,000 residents founded in 1893 by Pennsylvanian Benjamin Johnson. While it is a wealthy city in a fertile agricultural area, Mochis (like most MexPac cities) is not geared towards tourism. It is a hub of sorts, as it is connected by ferry to La Paz, Baja California Sur; has a busy airport with flights to and from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson; and is the western terminus of the legendary Copper Canyon railroad, Mexico’s last major passenger railway featuring one of the most spectacular views in North American train travel.

Los Mochis sits on the Rio Fuerte, which irrigates an extensive valley region whose main crops are vegetables (such as beans and corn) and sugar cane and for which Los Mochis is the commercial and financial center. The city sits 15 miles from the Pacific Mexican port of Topolobampo, which is famous for its shrimp and fishing activity. One of the native animals is the yellow crocodile, which can grow as large as 38.8 feet and weigh over a ton.

As mentioned, Los Mochis is considered a stopover for travelers, not a destination. Visitors to town should check out Parque Sinaloa, which contains the most complete collection of palm trees in Mexico (including rare species imported from around the world) and is a great setting for a stroll in the cool of the evening. Parque Sinaloa is set in the old “Colonia Americana” section of Los Mochis, a former residential district for North Americans easily identified by its typical USA-style architecture featuring brick houses with front porches and yards on all four sides which give a unique character to Los Mochis unlike anywhere else in Mexico.

The Los Mochis Caneros (or “Cane Growers”) entered the Mexican Pacific League in 1962, and are currently playing their 48th winter of pro ball. The Caneros play their home games at Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada, which seats 11,000 fans. While the team is not usually one of the prime contenders for a Mex Pac title, Mochis has won LMP pennants in 1968-69 under manager Ben Valenzuela, 1983-84 under Vinicio Garcia and in 2002-03 for Juan F. Rodriguez. In two Caribbean Series, the Caneros have gone 4-8 over 12 games with second and fourth place finishes.

NEXT WEEK: Navojoa, Sonora

Sunday, October 18, 2009


While wins are a baseball team’s ultimate measure of success on the field, a means of financial success comes through the clicking of turnstiles. On that latter basis, Mexican Pacific League front office leaders had to be happy with last weekend’s four Inauguration Series.
After teams had completed their two-game home-and-away series with leading rivals, the eight home openers brought in 102,605 fans, an average of 12,826 per game. Four teams drew crowds of more than 15,000, including 16,312 in Culiacan for the Tomateros’ game with Mazatlan, an even 16,000 for Mexicali’s opener against Hermosillo, 15,780 for Mazatlan’s game with Culiacan and 15,228 in Obregon for the Yaquis’ match against Navojoa. Hermosillo drew nearly 14,000 while Navojoa topped the 10,000 mark.


Hermosillo has won their first four games to take the early LMP lead. The Naranjeros clubbed Mexicali, 13-4, in the Mex Pac season opener October 9 as Humberto Cota went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and three runs scored. The Orangemen had to go 11 innings to top the Aguilas, 6-5, two days later. Trent Oeltgen was 4-for-5 while Darnell McDonald had three hits, including a game-winning single.

Then it was on to a set at Guasave, which was delayed by a rainout. Hermosillo won Wednesday’s opener, 9-5, behind Ramon Rios’ grand slam. Dennis Sarfate came on to strike out the side in the ninth to seal the deal. The Naranjeros won Thursday’s first game, 3-0, as Jesus Castillo combined with four relievers on a three-hit shutout and McDonald stroked a double and homer with three RBIs. The second game was halted by curfew after seven innings.


Mazatlan is right behind Hermosillo after winning four of their first five contests. John Lindsey was 4-for-5 and Pablo Ortega pitched five shutout innings in the Venados’ 4-3 season opener win over Culiacan October 10, followed by a 5-4 win in Culiacan one day later behind Ruben Rivera’s solo homer and Brian Bixler’s two hits (including an RBI single).
The Deer stayed home for a three-game midweek set with Obregon. Rivera whacked a two-run homer to pace Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over the Yaquis, but Mazatlan tasted defeat on Wednesday as Obregon prevailed, 6-4 despite two singles and a triple from Freddy Sandoval and two more singles from Bixler. The Venados copped the rubber match Thursday night, 4-1, as Sandoval homered and tripled to back another strong outing from Ortega, who allowed no earned runs in six innings.


Los Mochis is in third place after going 3-2 over the first week. The Caneros rode a solid five-inning start from Jesus Sanchez to beat Guasave, 2-0, October 10 as Saul Soto and Sandy Madera each powered solo homers. The series swung to Guasave a day later with a Mochis loss to the Algodoneros, 8-1. Edgar Quintero drove in the lone Caneros run.
Mochis then took two of three games against Mexicali, starting with Tuesday’s 7-5 win keyed by another Soto homer and a three-strikeout ninth inning by closer Jorge Vazquez for his second save in as many opportunities. Vazquez picked up another save Wednesday to close a 9-8 win as Carlos Orrantia homered and drove in four runs and Caonabo Cosme added a solo roundtripper. The Caneros lost the third game, 3-1, despite a 2-for-4 night at the plate for Madera.


Obregon pounded Guasave twice before dropping two of three games in Mazatlan to end the first week tied with Mochis in the standings at 3-2. Reigning Mex Pac MVP Agustin Murillo was 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI to pace the Yaquis to an 8-2 win October 10 as five relievers combined to pitch 6.1 innings of three-hit shutout ball. Obregon won their home opener the next day, 7-3, with Corey Wimberly scoring twice and driving in two more runs.
Obregon then lost Tuesday in Mazatlan, 5-3, although Carlos Valencia turned in his second straight three-hit game and Neil Sellers homered. The Yaquis beat the Venados, 6-4, on Wednesday as Murillo crunched a three-run homer in the seventh to help lift Obregon into a second-place tie with Mazatlan. The Yaquis dropped the third game of the series, 4-1, as Michael Taylor had two hits.


Navojoa has played fitfully to begin the season in fifth place at 2-3. The Mayos were bopped twice by Obregon, 8-2 and 7-3 in the Inaugural Series. Francisco Arias was the lone bright spot in the opener, going 4-for-4 while his teammates only had three more hits. Arias collected two more hits with two runs and an RBI in Navojoa’s second loss to the Yaquis.
Things went better in a home series with Culiacan. The Mayos shut out the Tomateros, 2-0, in the rain-delayed opener on Wednesday as starter Alejandro Armenta went six innings, allowing five hits and striking out four. Navojoa split a Thursday doubleheader, winning the first game, 5-2, with pitcher Tim Gustafson tossing five innings of one-run ball and Matt Young doubling, tripling and driving in two runs. The Mayos dropped the nightcap, 4-3, although Raul Lopez did pick up a pair of singles.


Guasave split two games to Los Mochis before dropping a pair with Hermosillo to go into this weekend at 1-3. The Algodoneros were blanked, 2-0, by Mochis October 10 to spoil a strong start by Francisco Cordova, who let in one run on three hits in five innings. The Cotton Pickers came back last Sunday by bombing the Caneros, 8-1. Wes Bankston was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and drove in three runs, while Chris Carter doubled and homered for Guasave.
The Algodoneros then lost twice at home to Hermosillo, including a 9-5 defeat last Wednesday in spite of Carter’s two-run homer against the Naranjeros. One night later, Guasave was shut out for the second time in four games, losing to Hermosillo, 3-0. Bankston was one of three Algodoneros player to collect a hit. The third game of the series was suspended after seven innings with the score tied at 4-4.


Mexicali lost their first four games before ending a series against Los Mochis with a win. The Aguilas opened the LMP season October 9 on the short end of a 13-4 game with Hermosillo. Matt Camp did go 3-for-4 with two RBIs, but it was not Mexicali’s night. The Aguilas put up a better fight two days later in Hermosillo before dropping a 6-5, 11-inning game. Oscar Robles and Emmanuel Valdez each homered and scored twice, but Enrique Quintanilla’s five innings of two-hit shutout pitching went to waste.
Mexicali then lost two more game to Mochis, dropping Tuesday’s opener, 7-5, although Roman Pena posted a single and double while scoring once. The Aguilas then lost, 9-8, on Wednesday despite a Valdez three-run homer. Mexicali broke through Thursday to win, 3-1, as Jeff Samardzija pitched six innings of one-run ball for the victory.


Hopes were high in Culiacan going into this season after a last-place finish last winter, but the Tomateros lost four of five games to start the season to go into the weekend tied for last place. Jesus Cota has been a home run machine since August, and he whacked a two-run bomb in the season opener at Mazatlan, but Culiacan still lost, 4-3. The Tomateros fell to the Venados, 5-4, in Culiacan last Sunday, thwarting a six-inning, one-run start for Travis Minix and a three-hit day for Victor Bojorquez.
Culiacan then lost two more in Navojoa before getting their first win. Wednesday’s 2-0 loss spoiled a good six-inning, three hit outing by starter Arturo Barradas. The Tomateros absorbed a 5-2 loss to the Mayos Thursday despite a Dee Brown homer before winning the nightcap, 4-3, as Mike Cervenak went 2-for-3 with a homer and Brown added two RBIs.

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)

Monday, October 12, 2009


The Mexican Pacific League opened its 2009-10 season Friday, October 9 with the Mexicali Aguilas hosting the Hermosillo Naranjeros at the Eagles’ Nest.

With the arrival of Inauguration Weekend, let’s take a look at how the eight Mex Pac teams are shaping up going into the winter schedule:


The Tomateros finished with the worst record in the Mexican Pacific League last season at 26-42, and manager Nick Leyva doesn’t want a repeat performance this winter.

One weapon at Leyva’s disposal is first baseman Refugio Cervantes, who hit .296 with 10 homers for the Tomateros last year before batting .334 and cracking 20 homers in 90 games for Mexican League champion Saltillo this summer. Another weapon is outfielder Jesus Cota, a Cervantes teammate in Saltillo who homered in four straight games in the Liga Championship Series and belted three roundtrippers for Mexico against Taiwan in the Baseball World Cup.

The pitching staff is led by returnee Omar Espinoza, who went 7-4 for Culiacan last season with a 3.84 ERA. Mexican League Pitcher of the Year Andres Meza is back, but will need more than the 7 innings he pitched last winter. Jose Silva also brings back his 14 saves.


Guasave was 37-31 and reached the playoffs in 2008-09, and the Algodoneros will be looking to be back in the postseason come January. Manager Lino Rivera will have one of Mexico’s most exciting players, outfielder Cristian Presichi, back in Guasave.
Presichi, who hit .273 with 10 homers and 10 stolen bases for the Cotton Pickers last year, led Mexican batters at the Baseball World Cup. Rounding out the starting outfield will be venerable Mario Valezuela and veteran Eduardo Arredondo. Valenzuela hit .249 with 10 homers in Guasave in 2008-09 while Arredondo batted just .225 but also cracked 10 homers in only 80 at-bats.

Noe Munoz is a well-regarded catcher despite committing seven errors in 53 games last season, and Mexican League Rookie of the Year Japhet Amador will bring young legs to the infield. Beyond starter Rafael Cruz and closer Alan Guerrero, however, the Guasave pitching staff is suspect.


The Naranjeros are one of the Mex Pac’s proudest franchises and Homar Rojas is one of Mexico’s best managers. That’s a pretty good starting point right there, and Rojas has enough talent on hand to expect a good run this year after finishing 36-32 last winter.

Hermosillo has one of the LMP’s better pitching staffs, anchored by longtime strikeout artist Francisco “Pancho Ponches” Campos, who will be joined by ex-big leaguers Elmer Dessens and Edgar Gonzalez as well as vet Juan Delgadillo and Mexican League Rookie Pitcher of the Year Juan Pablo Oramos to form one of the best rotations in the league.

The Naranjeros have some hitters, too. Outfielder Luis Alfonso Garcia led the Mex Pac with 16 homers last season, and catcher Humberto Cota’s .324 average would’ve been fourth if he’d had enough plate appearances. Steady second baseman Carlos Gastelum hit .298, while outfielder Karim Garcia and first sacker Erubiel Durazo add big league experience and power.


Los Mochis had the second-best record in the Mexican Pacific League last year at 36-29. Manager Juan Francisco Rodriguez has a nice mix of pitching and hitting this year, too.

The Caneros have a solid 1-2 punch in starters Rafael Diaz and Ismael Castillo. A 21-year pro baseball veteran, Diaz pitched for Mexico’s World Cup team after going 2-1 with two saves and a 1.91 ERA for Mochis and 8-3 for Mexican League champs Saltillo. Castillo led the Mex Pac with a 2.86 ERA with the Caneros last winter en route to a 5-5 record. Another World Cup hurler, Arturo Lopez, is back after leading Mochis with a 6-2 mark last winter.

Catcher Saul Soto is home with the Caneros after a stellar summer, batting .370 with 28 homers and 93 RBIs for Monclova to finish among the top three in each category. Outfielder Edgar Quintero comes to Mochis after hitting .378 with 21 homers for Monterrey this year.


The defending Mexican Pacific League champions return most of last season’s 41-27 team, and will again be a favorite to win the pennant this year. Manager Lorenzo Bundy will have perhaps the most depth of any team in the LMP, with star power at every position.

Ex big leaguer Miguel Ojeda hit .321 with 17 homers for Mexico City this summer after only batting .203 last winter for Mazatlan. DH Roberto Saucedo led the Venados with nine homers and 38 RBIs, third baseman Freddy Sandoval hit .286 in the regular season and sparkled defensively in the Caribbean Series, outfielder Ruben Rivera hit .296 his first year in Mazatlan, and all Christian Quintero did was lead the Mex Pac with a .357 average.

Esteban Loaiza, Pablo Ortega and Walter Silva will anchor a starting rotation deep in experience, while Hector Navarro had 14 saves and a 1.64 ERA.


Mexicali ended last season with a 33-33 record and a playoff berth. Ex-Dodger shortstop Oscar Robles is back after leading the team with a .309 average in 2008-09, second baseman Oswaldo Morejon will join Robles in the middle of the infield after batting .238 for the Aguilas last year, and veteran DH Carlos Sievers returns to the Eagles’ Nest and hopes to improve on his .257 batting average last winter. Outfielders Gonzalo Meza and Roman Pena hit .286 and .235, respectively, and will be joined by import players in the outer garden this year.

Among pitchers, Alfredo Caudillo went 6-0 splitting between the rotation and bullpen and Oscar Rivera was 5-5 with a 5.16 ERA. Humberto Montemayor was the most effective starter for Mexicali last season. Montemayor pitched better than his 3-6 record indicated, turning in a 4.17 ERA. The Aguilas will need better starting pitching to top the .500 mark.


Navojoa struggled to a 31-37 mark to miss the postseason last season. Their website thus far is giving little indication of who will play for the team this winter.
We can tell you that the Mayos had an experienced infield in 2008-09, with Mexican baseball veterans Raul Lopez at first base, Jose Amador at second, Abel Martinez at third and Javier Robles at shortstop. Lopez had the best year among them, with a .257 average, four homers and 35 RBIs. Minor league vet Doug Clark hit .283 to anchor a young outfield, and hardnosed catcher Adan Munoz had a solid year, hitting .277 with a team-high eight homers and 50 RBIs.
Navojoa had a decent bullpen, with Scott Chiasson and Hansel Izquierdo combining for 13 saves, but beyond Orlando Lara and Alejandro Armenta, no starter had an ERA under 4.64.


Although Obregon had the seventh-best record in the LMP at 29-38 last winter, they snuck past Navojoa for the sixth and final playoff spot by accruing more points over both halves. Yaquis manager Eddie Diaz’s team should make the playoffs again, but isn’t likely to win a flag.
Newcomers Isauro Pineda, Mario Mendoza Jr. and Mauro Nieblas are hoped to improve what had been a fairly weak pitching staff, but that may be asking more than they’re capable of.
The Obregon offensive outlook is a bit more optimistic. Catcher Iker Franco may need to be replaced defensively in the late innings, but he still hit .282 with a team-best 14 homers last year. The sparkplug of the Yaquis is third baseman Agustin Murillo, the reigning Mex Pac MVP after hitting .345 with 11 homers and 47 RBI while committing just three errors in the field. Second sacker Carlos Valencia needs to rebound from a .230 season, however.

MEXICAN BASEBALL ROAD TRIP (Stop #2): Culiacan, Sinaloa

This week, we pay a visit to Culiacan, home of the Tomateros. Culiacan is a two-hour drive north on Highway 15 from our Road Trip starting point, Mazatlan, and is set a few miles inland from the Gulf of California. While Mazatlan is a better-known place among North Americans, Culiacan is itself a thriving city and the state capital of Sinaloa. The name “Culican” is an old native word which means “place where they adore the God Coltzin.”

A city of over 600,000 residents, Culiacan was a small village when Spanish conquistador Nuno Beltran de Guzman founded the villa of San Miguel de Culiacan on September 29, 1531. From the end of the sixteenth century and throughout much of the 1700’s, San Miguel de Culiacan served as an important staging area for the Spanish conquest of the Mexican West. However, independence from Spain was eventually won for Mexico in the early 1820’s, and Culiacan was granted the status of “city” in 1823. At that time, Sinaloa’s state capital was in Mazatlan, but was eventually shifted to Culiacan in 1873.

As with most of the Mex Pac cities, Culiacan is an agricultural center, surrounded by some of the most arable land in Mexico of which the major crop is tomatoes. While Culiacan has a reputation as a tough town, it is also, in fact, a thriving and busy place with a fine State university in the city center, a lovely 19th Century cathedral sitting three blocks away from the ubiquitous Mexican mercado, there are beaches on the Gulf a few miles away in Atlata and El Tambor, and Ernesto Millan Escalante Park features gardens, pools, an open-air Hellenic theater and the longest water slide in northern Mexico. The Centro Cultural Genaro Estrada contains two theaters, several museums and a cafĂ©, and is a centerpiece for the arts. There are several good restaurants in town, and one of the most popular regional dishes is steak cabreria, which features six different toppings and side dishes…it’s definitely worth a try.

Something else worth a try is catching a Tomateros game at Estadio General Angel Flores, which is the largest ballpark in the LMP with 16,000 seats. The Tomateros have given their fans a lot to cheer about over the years, with nine Mex Pac pennants since 1967. Five of those came under manager Francisco “Paquin” Estrada, who also brought two Caribbean Series titles home to Culiacan. The city hosted the CS in 2001, one of two times the event has been held anywhere other than Mazatlan or Hermosillo in the twelve times the Series has been played in Mexico.

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

Saturday, October 3, 2009


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.


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 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.


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.”


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.


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)