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Baseball Mexico

by Bruce Baskin
October 5, 2020 - Mexican League (ML)

MONTERREY, CULIACAN PLAYERS TEST POSITIVE FOR VIRUS IN CAMPS

With less than two weeks remaining until the scheduled start of the Mexican Pacific League's regular season, Puro Beisbol reports that a number of players on two of the LMP's ten teams have tested positive for the Wuhan virus in their respective camps.

According to columnist David Braverman, Monterrey Sultanes team members (seeking anonymity) said that about ten players, coaches and staff members tested positive for the virus last Tuesday at the city's Swiss Hospital. Results were reported Thursday and Friday. Among those alleged to have tested positive were pitchers Freddy Quintero and Norman Elenes, infielder Ricardo Serrano, two coaches (including Placido Pinto), a batboy and four others whose names were not disclosed.

Braverman says that despite the significant number of positive cases, neither the Sultanes nor the LMP office provided information in the matter while the team continued its preseason training camp at Estadio Monterrey. Braverman cites reports from staff members at the Fiesta Inn where the team is concentrated as saying "the players circulate throughout the facilities without restrictions, including those who tested positive, and only rearranged the allocation of rooms to host pairs who were infected."

Several Monterrey players are "extremely concerned" after recent months in which they've taken great care with their families but now feel that Sultanes' upper management, led by executive president Guillermo "Willie" Gonzalez and sports manager Jesus Valdez, has not handled the problem seriously. Gonzalez has reportedly rarely been seen at either the ballpark or hotel due to his commitments to radio programs dedicated to soccer.

With less than two weeks remaining until the scheduled start of the Mexican Pacific League's regular season, Puro Beisbol reports that a number of players on two of the LMP's ten teams have tested positive for the Wuhan virus in their respective camps.

Meanwhile, Puro Beisbol editor Francisco Ballesteros reports a number of Culiacan Tomateros players tested positive for the virus, leading the defending Mex Pac champions to cancel their exhibition series in Guasave over the weekend. The team says a total of eight players and five staff members were affected, including Tomateros manager Benji Gil. Incoming pitcher Manny Barredas had tested positive prior to reporting to Culiacan last Thursday, according to the Cronica website in Jalisco. Mazatlan Venados players have reportedly also turned up in positive testing.

The Mexican Pacific League season is due to begin Wednesday of next week with games in five different ballparks including Estadio Tomateros, which is being allowed to let in up to 40 percent of the stadium's 20,000 seating capacity (or about 8,000 fans) to start the season. The LMP is hoping to be the only professional baseball league in the world to open its season on time and with fans in the stands this year despite the pandemic.

PERICOS WIN COVETED GOLDEN STEVE AWARD FOR SPORTS PROMOTION

Despite not being able to play a game in 2020 after the Mexican League canceled its schedule due to the Wuhan virus, the Puebla Pericos were still able to garner off-field accolades by winning a so-called Golden Stevie Award, an international business award handed out annually to organizations for effective promoting and marketing of their product. The Pericos won in the category of Communications and Public Relations in Sports for their "Bringing Back the Love of the Game" campaign over the past two seasons after the franchise was purchased by new owner Jose Miguel Bejos.

An entrepreneur who heads both the Mota-Engil Mexico contracting firm and Grupo PRODI construction company, Miguel Bejos purchased the Parakeets after it was announced they would be one of four LMB franchises going dark for the 2019 season prior to Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ordering the Liga to allow them to play.

While the other three teams (Aguascalientes, Leon and Union Laguna) continued to struggle on and off the field, Puebla saw its attendance rise from an average of 2,712 per game over two 2018 seasons to 4,693 in 2019, an increase of 73 percent. In addition, the team has been active building their brand in the community, including the publication of manuals given to nascent fans to help teach them various aspects of baseball.

A colonial-era city with a metropolitan population of 3.2 million people, Puebla has a long history in the Mexican League but support for teams has run hot and cold over the decades. The Golden Stevie Award at least implies that the Pericos are turning up the temperature. According to the Septima Entrada website, team spokesperson Ramon Ramirez said in a statement that "This confirms that with the Pericos fo Puebla, we are sure that this city is flying to the top of Mexican baseball because we offer innovative experiences for our fans both inside and outside the stadium. We also respond on the diamond by promoting young Mexican talent and we promote values through sports."

The Pericos, who follow the 2019 Golden Stevie sports award-winning Turkish Professional Soccer League, were chosen from more than 3,800 nominations from over 60 countries. More than 150 executives from the communications industry made the selection. The StevieAwards.com website says, "The Stevie Awards are the world's premier business awards. They were created in 2002 to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide. In short order the Stevie has become one of the world's most coveted prizes.

"Past Stevie Award winners including Apple, Ford Motor Company, Procter & Gamble and Samsung." And now the Puebla Pericos.

BASEBALL EQUIPMENT: MEXICAN BRANDS GAINING GROUND

Most attention given to Mexican baseball is focused on the playing field, where the country has made enough strides globally to currently rank sixth in the World Baseball Softball Confederation's global rankings. However, Mexico is also gaining prestige (and business) from the manufacturing of baseball equipment like batting gloves, bats and fielders' mitts.

The ElJonronero.com website ran a story last weekend regarding the growth of equipment manufacturers in Mexico. This is a translated version:

Mexican baseball has had an important evolution in recent years from new stadiums, teams with a comprehensive professionalization, greater diffusion at the national and international level, to higher impact hires.

In this context, various Mexican brands for baseball have been part of this growth and some of them have a higher preference even than foreign and popular companies for being of great tradition. Mexico has strong companies in baseball bats, mitts, gloves and other tools and accessories.

Mexico is an important market, having professional baseball all year round, as well as great practice of this sport throughout the republic by young men and women of all ages.

THE KINGS OF THE GLOVES

Pablo López, a young businessman from Ciudad Obregón, heads Demon Slugger, a company specializing in gauntlets and grips for bats, the latter being the popular tapes that some players attach to their timbers to gain better grip.

"This was born with the objective of providing better tools to hitters. We realized that the market for 'Bats Grips' was neglected by Mexican brands, that is why our focus has been to create products that help players to have greater control and grip at the bat, " he commented.

"The products have been widely accepted by the professional player, this due to the quality of the materials we use, the grip they provide and the design that they liked."

In two years of existence, the Demon Slugger company has managed to position itself as one of the favorites by professionals, players like Jesse Castillo, Edson García, Carlos Sepúlveda, are some of the many players who connect with them.

THE WORLD OF BATS

Winning a place in the world of bats is quite a complicated task, with internationally positioned brands such as Marucci, Lousville, Hickory, etc., but the Mexican company Valma succeeded.

"The experience has been very good, within the context there are many variants, because to get everything to be good there must be complications and sacrifices.", said Miguel Valle, founder of the company.

In four years Valma was fully positioned in the national market, having working agreements with most of the Mexican professional baseball teams, as well as in semi-professional and amateur leagues and university events.

The product has been so accepted by the baseball community that it has become an export material, both in Caribbean leagues and in Europe. Valma, has important international certifications, even his bats have been used in the Major League Baseball.

"We have come into the hands of Mexican baseball and players who have been idols. It has been an experience that I will continue working to continue breaking more borders than those we have overcome. We have a quality product."

GLOVES THAT FOLLOW A LEGACY

Ramón Montoya Enríquez, son of the legendary Ramón 'Diablo' Montoya, follows his father's legacy in baseball, but from another facet. The 'Diablo Montoya' brand of fielding gloves has been strongly positioned in recent years as one of the most satisfactory for the player.

"It is a product that began with my father, Ramón "El Diablo" Montoya, precisely so that his legacy would continue within the field. For him, the colors red with white was his life. My father could spend 24 hours in the field," commented the son of "El Diablo."

"We base ourselves on three points: quality, which is the most important thing. Hence the designs and that our brand is on par with a foreign glove," he added.

Based in Mexico City, but shipments throughout the Mexican Republic, these gloves have already been used by figures such as Iván Terrazas, Jorge Cantú, among others.

Each of the brands have their social media platforms where they interact with their followers, in addition to their official sites where they offer their products, designs and colors.


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Mexican League Stories from October 5, 2020


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