Almost 2 weeks in Mexico and I have already have eaten more tacos than I could ever imagine, but better than that is that I have thrown 9 times as many innings as I did in the Dominican Republic. Also within my time in Mexico the Tigers and I have come to agreements for next season. Detroit thank you for another opportunity.
I have started two games down here to help the Augilas make a playoff push. Both outings started extremely well going for the first 3-4 innings. In both games I seemed to hit a wall in my last inning giving up a couple runs. I think it could be a mix of rustiness and stamina. No excuses though. I need to finish each inning strong as it could always be my last.
This was my first road trip with the team. We had the option of taking a bus 13 hours to Navojoa, Sonora Mexico or flying. To the norm you would think to take the flight, but the flight left at 1am and had two layovers. The guys who flew ended up arriving at the hotel at the same time as the bus. The hotel was a best western type outside motel. Nothing too glamorous, but it did its job for the handful of hours we are in the room. Rule #14 in the hotel handbook was not to drink the water. I figured a hotel with Wi-Fi would have safe drinking water from the faucet. Guessed wrong.
Unlike the US, over here we head over to the field fairly late. The bus rolls out of the hotel around 5:15 for a 7:30 “juego”. We get dressed in our hotel room and head over to the field in uniform like a high school team. The field in Navojoa had an overall good to fair stadium feel. The field was maintained well as were the grandstands. There were only about a couple hundred fans at each game. It was in the 50’s at night while we were there to give them a little slack. The stadium can hold about 6000-9000. The food in the stadium consists of tacos and nachos, of course. There was no “real” locker room. Although the bathroom looked very upgraded by having tile. Not sure who was the genius to put tile in a baseball locker room. Knock, knock baseball players where metal cleats. That’s a liability suit waiting to happen. Everyone kept their bags in the dugout, which made for a tricky way to make it to the field. There was a land-mine of bags everywhere. We took two out of three in the series against them. They are currently in last place and it would have been nice to have swept them.
There has been a wealth of knowledge around the ballpark. Fernando Valenzuela is a character. Picking his brain in my small time here has been priceless. Although I haven’t been taught the screwball yet. Our other pitching coach is Ruben Niebla. He was in the big leagues coaching with the Cleveland Indians last year. His knowledge and energy for the game is amazing. I have been trying to get any competitive advantage I can get by learning from these minds of the game.
We are currently on the bus headed to Hermosillo. They are in first place and this is a very important series for us going forward. We have a day off today (Xmas eve) and play a three game series with a double-header on Sunday. Happy Holidays to all! Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas.
Special thank you to Jason Beck for writing a great article. You can see it here http://tinyurl.com/28udjye
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