Over the past decade and a half or so, the “big four” North American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL) have put an emphasis on playing more international games as an effort to expand the popularity of their game.
This weekend, baseball fans in Mexico City, Mexico, will get to enjoy the experience of a lifetime when the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants square off for a two-game series at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium.
The weekend series will be played on Apr. 29-30, marking the first games to be held in Mexico City. Barring a change in plans by manager Bob Melvin, the Padres will presumably have Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish making the starts on Apr. 29 and Apr. 30, respectively.
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Padres & Giants Looking To Overcome Slow Starts
San Diego finally reached lofty expectations a year ago, finishing 89-73 en route to a Wild Card Series win over the NL Central champion New York Mets.
The Padres then stunned the 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, reaching the NLCS for the first time since 1998. They were no match for the surging Philadelphia Phillies, however, who won the pennant in five games.
The Giants and Padres have been struggling with consistency over the first month of the season. The longtime NL West bullies, the Dodgers, have also struggled to find their form in the season.
So yes, the Giants and Padres truly have missed some opportunities to build some distance on the Dodgers. That said, the talent levels of all three NL West clubs are too high for them to underachieve much longer.
The Giants are slowly but surely rounding into form following an ugly 6-13 start, and the Padres are getting it together after a disappointing 8-11 start. It’s a long season, yes, but every game carries the same value.
It looks like it’ll be a very tight race for the NL West division, so it’s not too early to chalk up this weekend’s two-game series between the Giants and Padres as “crucial.” You need every win you can get, especially against a competitive division rival.
All of that just adds to more intrigue for the Giants-Padres series.
History Of MLB Games In Mexico
The Padres and another NL West rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks, were actually supposed to play a series at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium in the 2020 season, but the series had to be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 season didn’t end up starting until July 23, and the league and MLBPA ultimately agreed to a reduced 60-game season.
San Diego participated in the first-ever trio of MLB games that took place in Mexico. The Padres and New York Mets squared off in a three-game series from Aug. 16-18 in the 1996 season at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey. San Diego took two of the three games.
On Apr. 4, 1999, the Padres met the Colorado Rockies at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey. The Rockies went on to win that game 8-2. 19 years later, the Padres returned to the same venue for a three-game set with the Dodgers.
The Padres and Dodgers played their series from May. 4 to 6, with San Diego winning two of the three games.
In 2019, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds came to Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey for a two-game set (Apr.13-14), with each club taking one contest. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels also played two games here (May 4-5), with the eventual AL champs winning both games.
The Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play a two-game series at London Stadium in London, United Kingdom on June 24-25. This will be the second MLB series to be played in London, as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox played a two-game set here (June 29 and 30) at London Stadium as well.