Friday, January 21, 2011

TOMMY AL BAT: Tomas Morales column from Esto (en Ingles)

Tomas Morales has been covering baseball in Mexico and the Major Leagues for 56 years, beginning in 1954. He is one of his country's most beloved cronistas both for his regular "Tommy al Bat" column and as a beat reporter and editor with several newspapers and magazines as he works into his sixth decade covering the King of Sports. He was inducted into the Salon de la Fama in Monterrey (where writers are full members) in 1990.

Still as active as ever at age 79, Tommy wrote a "Tommy al Bat" column for Esto earlier this week regarding the Mexican Pacific League finals. This is a Babelfish-aided English translation, which can only give a taste of the full flavor of the original Spanish text:

The Guasave Algodoneros, who lost both of their first two games of the Mexican Pacific League semifinals to the Culiacan Tomateros, ended up winning the next four to put manager Matias Carrillo into the second final of his short career as a manager. Matias was in the 2009 Mexican League final with the Quintana Roo Tigres, losing in six games to the Saltillo Saraperos. In his two years as a manager, Matias has always been in the playoffs, although he is still looking for his first championship.

Now he will arrive at his first winter final like a great gust of wind to face the Yaquis in Obregon on Friday in the series for the LMP crown and a trip to the Caribbean Series in Mayaguez.

It was a great success for the Algodoneros and a monumental failure for the Tomateros, who had a batting order full of famous players (some with experience in the Major Leagues). Between the surprise of Obregon eliminating Hermosillo to send Vinny Castilla into retirement and Guasave eliminating Culiacan, I got caught up in the two series.

The Algodoneros delivered an 8-2 beating to the Tomateros before 13,000 unhappy aficionados in the Culiacan ballpark Tuesday with Mario Valenzuela connecting on his fourth homer and Leo Heras connecting for three hits and bunting the ball for a successful squeeze play.

I’ve seen the resurrection of the squeeze play lately. It’s a very dangerous play but when it comes out right, it’s simply wonderful. In the old days of manager Domingo Santana, who was a very good second baseman (and after whom the ballpark in Leon is named), he often utilized the suicide squeeze and gave it the name of “cerebral magic.” Naturally, the squeeze play is used much less at present because the ball is much more alive than before.

Heras has ended up batting .346 in his first playoffs, while other players from the Mexico City Diablos Rojos in Guasave are homer-hitting Japhet Amador, speedboat Jesus Lopez (the heir to Diablos shortstop Jose “Borrego” Sandoval) and Eduardo Arredondo, who has been traded to the Reynosa Broncos. For the Yaquis, Carlos Valencia and fashionable pitcher Marco Antonio Quevedo are from the Red Devils with Luis Alonso Mendoza heading to the Major Leagues.

By the way, so far neither Rodrigo Lopez nor Elmer Dessens, who had their good moments in the Majors in 2010, have contracts and could return to Mexico City in the summer.

The final series begins at 8 on Friday night and can be seen on cable television.