Writing > Home opener

March 18, 2012: Home opener

Diablos Rojos del México 6 Tigres de Quintana Roo 8
4:00pm Sunday March 18, 2012
Time: 3:26
Attendance: 24,833

My second Liga Mexicana opening day. Last year, the Tigres were also the visitors. Last year, the Tigres also won 8-6. Last year, there were about 4,000 more people in attendance, though. Strangely, both last season's and this season's opening days had bigger attendances that the two Serie del Rey (Mexican version of the World Series) games that took place at Foro Sol between the same two teams last August. The 24,833 who attended Sunday's game is quite likely to be the biggest crowd of the season. Something that isn't uncommon in the United States or Toronto, either.

I was attending the game with someone who had never attended a baseball game before. She was slightly impressed (and probably slightly alarmed) that, as we walked up the steps to our seats, the beer vendor we passed by smiled, greeted me, and shook my hand. Either a) I drink too much at baseball games, or b) I am one of very few gringos who goes to see Diablos games regularly. Somewhere in the middle, I think.

We were sat near a girl in a little league uniform with lovely socks with a stirrup-y pattern:

Opening Day in Mexico City is a pretty lame affair compared to the things you see in the major leagues. No huge flags, no military flyovers, no big song and dance. All we got was a (seemingly remote-controlled) blimp, and a woefully under-amplified choir singing the himno nacional.

This was the fifth game I've attended between the Tigres and Diablo Rojos. And it was the fifth defeat I've attended. The game started with depressing familiarity: single, error, RBI single. Bottom of the first, leadoff hitter and centerfielder Leo Heras walks and steals second, followed by three quick outs. In the second Diablos lefty gives up another couple of runs before settling down. Bottom of the third, and things finally start to look good for the home team. Heras singles, Oscar Robles walks, Carlos Valencia singles, and clean-up fat man Japhet Amador belts a double to right center to clear the bases. 3-3. The Diablos tack on runs in the fourth and fifth. 5-3 Diablos. But, of course, the bullpen. Texas Rangers 2004 15th round draft pick John Lujan comes in in the seventh, faces four batters, allows two runs. 5-5. Things get worse in the eighth, Tigres plating three more runs off of Orlando Lara and Armando Gabino. 8-5 Tigres. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, and we're given hope. That man again, Leo Heras singles. Robles singles. Pinch hitter Emmanuel Avila singles and brings Leo home. 8-6. Tying run at first, Amador at bat, and on the second pitch, he grounds to Tigres shortstop Kevin Flores, who flips it to second baseman Carlos Gastelum. Tigres win.

Diablos Rojos lost again to the Tigres. But baseball is back. And that's what matters most. Oh, and my companion, the baseball virgin: she had a great time.