The 78th Mexican League All-Star Game will be played tomorrow night at Chihuahua’s Estadio Monumental. The 14,500-seat facility was completed in 2004 at an estimated cost of $65 million and has served as home of the LMB’s Chihuahua Dorados since 2007.
Several former major leaguers will take part in the game, which pits the northern Zona Madero against the southern Zona Hidalgo in the only game between the two divisions until the League Championship Series in August. For the host Zona Madero, defending champion Saltillo will send six players, including second baseman Jose Rodriguez, outfielder Jesus Cota and designated hitter Refugio Cervantes as well as Saraperos manager Orlando Sanchez (who will direct the team from the dugout). Among the ex-big leaguers will be catcher Geronimo Gil, pitcher David Cortes, second baseman Oscar Robles (all from Mexico City), pitcher Nerio Rodriguez of Monclova, Chihuahua outfielder Jacob Cruz and Dorados pitcher Mac Suzuki. One curious omission from the Nortenos team is Reynosa first baseman Sandy Madera, the 2009-10 Mexican Pacific League batting champion who is currently tied for third with Oaxaca's Jaime Brena in the Liga tables with a .386 average.
The Zona Hidalgo squad will be managed by Mexican baseball legend Matias Carrillo, skipper of the Quintana Roo Tigres. Carrillo will be joined by four of his Tigres players: catcher Iker Franco, second baseman Carlos Gastelum, outfielder Sergio Contreras and pitcher Scott Chiasson (last year’s Reliever of the Year in the Liga). MLB alumni on the Zona Hidalgo roster include Chiasson, Puebla first baseman Willis Otanez, Campeche outfielder Ruben Rivera and Veracruz outfielder Victor Diaz. Among the missing is another ex-MLBer, Oaxaca shortstop Jolbert Cabrera, whose .385 batting average for the Guerreros (fifth in the Liga) has come in just 37 games since his arrival three weeks into the season. Each team will suit up 33 players, including 14 pitchers apiece.
Last year at Parque Beto Avila in Cancun, Zona Norte defeated Zona Sur, 13-3, as six different northern players hit home runs to set an All-Star Game record (Carlos Valencia of Mexico City swatted two longballs and was named All-Star MVP).