Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mexican Baseball Fiesta returns to Tucson; BBM will be there

The Mexican Baseball Fiesta, featuring four Mexican Pacific League teams and a team of MLB prospects, will be back for a seventh year in a row from late September through early October.  The MBF's centerpiece is a four-day stretch of doubleheaders at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Arizona from October 4-8, with other games taking place in several other Arizona cities like Mesa, Douglas, Nogales and San Luis as well as Cashman Field in Las Vegas.

Former Tucson Toros and Padres general manager Mike Feder, who was the Pacific Coast League's Executive of the Year in both 1991 and 2013, is heading the effort in the Old Pueblo.  "We believe it was essential that we continue this fun-filled, cross-border and cultural event in Tucson," says Feder.  "This tournament includes some of the most popular teams in Mexico."  This year, the Hermosillo Naranjeros, Obregon Yaquis, Mexicali Aguilas and Los Mochis Caneros from the LMP will be joined in Tucson by a team of Cincinnati Reds minor leaguers.  The MBF serves a dual purpose of providing MexPac teams a chance to play exhibition games in preparation for next month's season openers while exposing fans north of the border to baseball Mexican-style.  In addition to the game on the field, there will be live music and other elements to bring a little salsa to the ballpark.

Originally known as Tucson Electric Park, Kino Stadium was completed in 1998 with 8,000 permanent seats plus room for 3,500 more on the outfield berm.  It has served as home to not only Tucson's PCL teams but also as a spring training site for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox before both teams joined the Colorado Rockies (who'd used crosstown Hi Corbett Field) in leaving Tucson for the Phoenix area.  Since the Padres departed town for El Paso in 2014 after three seasons, the city of a million metropolitan residents has not had its own PCL minor league baseball team, although the Tucson Saguaros of the independent Pecos League completed their second season at Kino Stadium from May to August this year.

Baseball Mexico (i.e., me) will be on hand in Tucson next month to file daily reports on all eight games played there, marking the first time BBM has ever covered Mexican baseball in person since the old Viva Beisbol column began in 2005, although audio from one of the old BBM programs on Florida shortwave radio station WRMI in late 2009 originated from Estadio Teodoro Mariscal in Mazatlan.  Options are being explored for broadcasting at least one MBF game live from Tucson on shortwave or the internet.

THU, Oct. 5   Obregon vs. Mexicali, Hermosillo vs. Cincinnati (1st game at 5:30pm MT)
FRI, Oct. 6    Mexicali vs. Cincinnati, Hermosillo vs. Obregon (1st game at 5:30pm MT)
SAT, Oct. 7   Los Mochis vs. Mexicali, Obregon vs. Hermosillo (1st game at 5:30pm MT)
SUN, Oct. 8  Mexicali vs. Obregon, Hermosillo vs. Los Mochis (1st game at 3:00pm MT)

Other MBF Dates and Venues
FRI, Sept. 22  Hermosillo vs. Obregon at Las Vegas, NV (7:05pm PT)
SAT, Sept. 23  Obregon vs. Hermosillo at Las Vegas, NV (7:05pm PT)
SAT, Sept. 30  Mexicali vs. Hermosillo at San Luis, AZ (7:00pm MT)
SUN, Oct. 1    Hermosillo vs. Mexicali, Mexicali vs. Los Mochis at Mesa AZ (1st game at 3:00pm MT)
WED, Oct. 4   Obregon vs. Hermosillo at Nogales, AZ (7:30pm MT)
THU, Oct. 5    Hermosillo vs. Los Mochis (7:30pm) at Douglas, AZ (7:30pm MT)