Baseball Mexicoby Bruce Baskin
October 10, 2011 - Mexican League (ML)
Longtime Mexico City Tigres pitching star Angel Moreno and former Nuevo Laredo slugger Alejandro Ortiz were the top vote-getters among Election Committee members picking nominees for entry into the Salon de la Fama next year. Moreno got 73 votes and Ortiz picked up 60. Also moving on to the next stage are Francisco Garcia (28), Pablo Gutierrez Delfin (26) and ex-Dodgers pitcher Ismael Valdez (who tied with Homar Rojas with 24 votes before outpolling Rojas 6-5 on a second ballot).
Moreno turned in a 240-170 record in 26 seasons in the Mexican League between 1976 and 2006, including nine years with the Tigres. He reached double figures in wins 16 times and had over 2,000 strikeouts in his career.
In 23 Liga seasons, 15 with the Tecolotes, Ortiz crashed 434 homers and drove in 1,597 runs while topping the .300 mark six times. He hit 27 or more homers ten years in a row between 1984 and 1993, forming a devastating trio with Andres Mora and Carlos Soto in Nuevo Laredo.
Twenty-two players received votes in Monday's balloting. The five who earned the nod will be joined in final voting next year by Hector Heredia, Nick Castaneda, Chico Rodriguez, Antonio Pulido and former Mets catcher Alex Trevino. Three players and one writer will be selected to the Salon in 2012.
CARIBBEAN CHAMPION YAQUIS HOST PRESEASON EVENT
The Caribbean Series champion Obregon Yaquis hosted the Mexican Pacific League's annual preseason "Dinner of Champions" Tuesday night in the Sonora city, at which food and awards were both served with equal relish to attendees.
Yaquis team president Lic. Rene Rodriguez gave the evening's welcome, followed by a few words from Mex Pac president Omar Canizales. A number of baseball luminaries were also on hand, including Salon de la Fama members Ronnie Camacho, Vicente Romo and Dr. Arturo Leon Lerma.
Among trophy recipients from last winter, Los Mochis' Edwin Salas earned the Melo Almada Award for Rookie of the Year, Mochis southpaw Alberto Castillo was given the Vicente Romo Award for Pitcher of the Year, Hermosillo's Luis Alfonso Garcia took away the Ronnie Camacho Award as home run champion, Eduardo Arredondo of Guasave was handed the Matias Carrillo Award as LMP batting champion and a third Mochis player, Justin Christian, received the Hector Espino Award for Most Valuable Player.
Matias Carrillo of Guasave got the Benjamin Reyes Award for Manager of the Year while Obregon skipper Eddie Diaz was honored as the Champion's Manager. Yaquis president Rene Rodriguez and GM Francisco Minajares were also awarded for their front office work.
VENADOS WIN TIJUANA BEISBOL FEST
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the ninth inning, the Mazatlan Venados rang up four runs and went on to defeat the Obregon Yaquis, 5-2, Sunday afternoon to clinch the Tijuana Beisbol Fest title at Estadio Cerro Colorado in the border city.
Oswaldo Morejon, Lorenzo Buelna and Brandon Sing each singled to open the ninth for the Deer, with Sing's singleton driving in Morejon with the tying run. Hector Paez then sliced yet another single to plate pinch-runner Jose Bernardo Lopez with the eventual game-winner.
Said Gutierrez gave the Yaquis a 2-0 lead in the fifth with a two-run homer to left, but Christian Quintero made it a 2-1 game in the seventh with an RBI single for the Venados to set up the ninth inning explosion. Mazatlan finished with a 2-0-1 record, Culiacan came in at 2-1, Obregon was 1-2 and Mexicali went 0-2-1 over the three-day, round-robin format.
On Saturday, a Home Run Derby was held with one contestant from each team: Mexican League home run champ Jorge Guzman for Mexicali, Refugio Cervantes from Culiacan, Iker Franco of Obregon and Sing for Mazatlan. Cervantes won the Derby with eight homers, while Guzman was runner-up with six.
GALLARDO TOPS LIST OF FIVE MEXICANS IN MLB PLAYOFFS
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo left no doubt among baseball fans Saturday that Mexico is being represented in the MLB playoffs. Gallardo, who was born in La Piedad, Michoacan in 1986, tossed eight innings of four-hit ball for the Brewers and earned the 4-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, striking out nine batters and walking one in the opening game of their National League Division Series.
The right-handed Gallardo, who was 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA in the regular season, is one of five Mexican-born players performing in the MLB postseason all pitchers. Among the other four is a Milwaukee teammate, reliever Marco Estrada. Estrada, a Sonora native who attended Long Beach State, was 4-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 92 innings for the Brewers, striking out 88 hitters.
Two other Mexicano pitchers work for the St. Louis Cardinals: Starter Jaime Garcia and closer Fernando Salas. Garcia (from Reynosa) went 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA this year after finishing third in balloting for the National League Rookie of the Year in 2010, while Salas (a Sonoran) was 5-6 with 24 saves and a 2.28 ERA in 75 innings for the Cards.
The lone American Leaguer from South of the Border is Yankees pitcher Luis Ayala, a seven-year MLB veteran making New York the sixth big league city he's hurled in since 2003. After not pitching in the majors last year, the Los Mochis-born Ayala went 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 52 appearances for the Yanks in 2011.
A-GON TAKES RED SOX COLLAPSE PHILOSOPHICALLY
After seeing his Red Sox complete a stunning collapse that saw them lose the American League wild card playoff berth on the last day of the regular season, Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez took the disappointment calmly. "It's definitely something we didn't plan for," Boston Globe writer Peter Abraham quoted Gonzalez as saying. "We were wholly confident that we would make the playoffs, but it didn't happen. We didn't do a better job with the lead. I'm a firm believer that God has a plan, and it wasn't in His plan for us to move forward. God didn't have it in the cards for us."
Instead of blaming the Man Upstairs, the Red Sox All-Star who grew up in Tijuana pointed to the schedule: "We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning. This has been my toughest season physically because of that. We play a lot of night games on Sunday for television and those things take a lot out of you."
The Red Sox had a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay for the wild card berth on September 3, but hit the skids over the final month of the regular season to lose out to the Rays on the final day of the schedule.
Abraham took umbrage (in print, anyway) at Gonzalez' philosophical view of his team's collapse, but it's hard to place much blame on the four-time All-Star. In his first season in Boston, Gonzalez batted .338 with 27 homers and 117 RBIs, leading the American League with 213 hits. He also fielded .997 at first base, committing just 4 errors in 1,351 chances. Over the final ten games of the season, he batted .417 by going 15-for-36 plus 8 walks for an on-base percentage of .639.
MEXICAN LEAGUE HANDS OUT GOLD GLOVES
The Mexican League has given out its Gold Glove awards for the 2011 season, with two players each from the champion Quintana Roo Tigres and Veracruz Aguilas earning notice for their fielding.
Second baseman Carlos Gastelum (.994) and left fielder Doug Clark (.995) from the Tigres were awarded for their prowess with the glove, while Aguilas third baseman Jesus Castillo (.974) and right fielder Victor Cruz (.993) were honored for their work in the field.
Also named to the Mexican League Gold Glove team were Monterrey pitcher Walter Silva (1.000), Saltillo catcher Jonathan Aceves (1.000), Tabasco first baseman Michel Abreu (.997), Puebla shortstop Ivan Cervantes (.981) and Campeche center fielder Ruben Rivera (1.000).
The LMB website says Gold Glove awards go to Liga players with the best fielding percentage at their respective defensive positions, in direct contrast to Major League Baseball, in which Gold Gloves are a popularity contest voted upon by managers and coaches and don't always have a thing to do with fielding. Rafael Palmeiro won an American League Gold Glove as a first baseman in 1999 even though he only donned a glove 24 games for Texas that season. He did hit .324 with 47 homers and 148 RBIs, which maybe proves that the best defense really is a good offense.
Mexican League Stories from October 10, 2011
- Baseball Mexico - OSC Original by Bruce Baskin
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