Monday, July 18, 2011

SALTILLO STRUGGLING ON FIELD, BUT NOT AT GATE

The on-field demise of the Saltillo Saraperos this season has been well-documented. Coming off their second consecutive Mexican League pennant, the Sarape Makers entered 2011 with hopes of becoming only the second team in Liga history to win three straight flags (the Monterrey Industriales turned the ultimate triple play in 1947-49). Barring a miracle of Biblical proportions, that ain’t gonna happen.

Even though longtime favorite Christian Presichi has been traded away, manager Orlando Sanchez was fired earlier this month and the Saraperos are 14 games under .500 and fighting Laguna and Monclova to stay out of the LMB North cellar, the fans continue to pour through the turnstiles at Estadio Francisco I. Madero. Through 48 home games, the Saraperos have drawn 410,056 people for an average of 8,542 per opening, both league-leading numbers.

The main reason attendance has maintained the top spot may be an extensive off-season ballpark remodel that saw the seating capacity increase to 17,500, new roofing placed over all seats, the playing field was completely reinstalled, a state-of-the-art Scoresound 1500 sound system was brought in and the placement of a 46’x72’ Daktronics scoreboard that is said to be the largest in Latin baseball.

Right behind Saltillo in attendance are the Monterrey Sultanes with an average of 8,023 fans while Puebla is third at 7,207 per game. Minatitlan is last with a 1,977 average, but overall attendance in the Liga appears to be up from 2010.