Thursday, February 11, 2016

New ballpark on drawing board in Los Mochis

The modernization of Mexican Pacific League ballparks has seen an overall upgrade or outright replacing of stadiums in most of the LMP's eight cities, and Los Mochis may be the next site for a new facility.

According to El Debate, Caneros team president Joaquin Vega, the team is currently lining up financial support for a ballpark to be built atop the parking lot adjacent to Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada, the home of the MexPac club since the team was formed in 1947.  Emilio Ibarra held 3,000 fans when first opened but subsequent expansions have brought its current capacity to 10,840.  The stadium was badly damaged by Hurricane Paul in 1982, causing the Caneros to play day games only the following winter due to lack of floodlights.  It has seen occasional upgrades over the years but they have not been enough to keep pace with the other LMP facilities.

Vega admits that nothing has been officially authorized, but that the Caneros hope to emulate Culiacan, where the new 20,000-seat Estadio BBVA Bancomer was built next to Estadio General Angel Flores, which was built in 1948 and served the Tomateros from their inception in 1965 until January of last year, when it was razed after Culiacan's LMP finals victory.

Caneros team officials held a meeting with potential investors earlier this week in Mexico City, but it may be a hard task to line up enough private money to build the ballpark because money is already tight in the country while the peso closed Tuesday trading at $18.81 per U.S. dollar, its lowest value in years.

The upgrading of MexPac facilities began with the overhaul of Mexicali's ballpark in 2007, followed by a new stadium in Hermosillo in 2013, a move by the Guasave Algodoneros to Guadalajara's three-year-old stadium in 2014 and Culiacan's new ballpark, which opened last year. In addition, a 16,000-seater is being built in Obregon and plans are being made for a new yard in Navojoa, leaving Mazatlan as the only LMP city with no plans to replace or renovate its longtime ballpark, 54-year-old Estadio Teodoro Mariscal.