Monday, September 25, 2017

Liga, MexPac to play two earthquake benefit All-Star Games

The Mexican League and Mexican Pacific League have scheduled a pair of interleague All-Star Games next weekend in Culiacan and Monterrey to raise funds for those affected by the last Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit the southern portion of the country near Morelos, followed by a series of aftershocks in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.  Latest reports indicate that over 300 people have died as a result while more than 4,600 were injured.  In a cruel irony, the initial temblor struck just two hours after an annual national earthquake drill carried out in commemoration of the 1985 quake that killed over 10,000 people in or near Mexico City.

The first LMB-LMP contest will be held on Saturday, September 30 in Culiacan while the second game will take place Sunday in Monterrey.  Both are the largest ballparks in their respective leagues, with Estadio Tomateros holding up to 20,000 spectators while Estadio Monterrey is Mexico's largest baseball facility, with a capacity of 27,000.  It was recently announced that Monterrey might also host a regular season National League series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres next May.  That set had originally been earmarked for Mexico City's new ballpark, but issues with the stadium even before last week's devastating earthquake near the capital city led Major League Baseball to cast about for other locations in Mexico.

Next weekend will mark the first time that All-Star teams from Mexico's top two baseball leagues have met head-to-head, although this will not be a truly competitive situation.  Although pride might compel players to try a little harder than they might in a typical exhibition game, the two teams will represent one league in Culiacan before switching jerseys for the Monterrey tilt to represent the other league so there is nothing "official" about the games.  Special jersey for the event are being made, with one set in green and the other in red.  Players and coaching staffs had not been announced when this story was written.

Although the two leagues have cooperated on this effort under unique circumstances, the hope here is that there will be continued attempts at harmony after next weekend and that the MexPac's potential scheduling nightmare (and resulting lack of domestic player availability) from the Liga's intended extension of their 2018 season into mid-November can be ironed out to the satisfaction of both.  Credit is due to new LMB president Javier Salinas, outgoing LMB majordomo Plinio Escalante and LMP leader Omar Canizales for creating a fundraiser that will aid victims of the earthquake while giving baseball fans in their respective leagues a chance to see some of the best players in both circuits on the same field for nine innings.

Baseball Mexico readers who wish to help by donating to relief efforts are encouraged to go to the top of the right-hand column of this site and click on the "Pray for Mexico" icon.  Doing so will bring the reader to the Salvation Army's donations page, through which contributions can be made through PayPal or the reader's credit or debit card.  The Salvation Army needs no introduction after more than 150 years of helping people in 127 countries while the organization has earned a reputation of spending the vast majority of donations it receives for disasters in the affected areas.  Even if it's just a few dollars, they're all as needed as they are appreciated.