Arizona Diamondbacks in the midst of Mexico's baseball momentum
This weekend in Monterrey, the first of three editions of the Mexico Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Rockies is underway. With the Cardinals-Reds in April and the Angels-Astros in May, there will be four series at the Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey since last May, when the Dodgers and Padres clashed.
Since its founding in the 1990s, the Diamondbacks have been one of the most active major league teams in Mexico, with their initiatives in and out of diamonds in the state of Sonora and other parts of the country. In fact, with these two games held in Monterrey during the weekend, there are 12 that Arizona will have played in Mexican lands, the largest number in the Majors.
"We want to let this community know that they are important to us," Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said on Saturday. "We have a lot of fans in this community who support us and this is a way to promote us here."
The seriousness with which the Arizona team took this series is reflected in the number of important players that it brought. Figures like the Venezuelans David Peralta and Eduardo Escobar, the Dominican Ketel Marte, Steven Souza Jr. and Jon Ryan Murphy are a solid representation of the squad.
Moreover, says Lovullo that several veterans who wanted to make the trip had to stay in Arizona.
"Our careers are very short and there are a limited number of experiences. Being able to play baseball in different countries is something I always wanted to do, "said Souza Jr., who also participated in the Cuba Series in 2016 wearing the Rays Tampa Bay flannel. "I will be able to tell my children how fans in Cuba love baseball and how fans in Mexico love baseball. They are memories of great value. Baseball brings people together."
Along with the Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks held clinics for children in the same Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey, home of the Sultans that now belong to both higher level circuits in Mexico.
For Peralta, this series also represents an opportunity to play again in front of a Latin American fanatic, as he did some years ago with the Margarita Braves in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.
"It's a special moment, both for baseball and for the city of Monterrey," said the outfielder. "I have many Mexican friends. I wanted to learn about the culture here, the Mexican one. Many very humble people, very nice here. I am very excited to be here. It's a pride for me."
Escobar added: "I had never had the opportunity to be in Mexico. Playing in front of a Mexican fan is pretty nice. We are all Latinos, but the most important thing is to come here, to set a good example."