Serie del Caribe 2018

The start of the Winter Leagues is upon us!  Serie Nacional 57 opens play in Cuba on August 5 with defending champs Granma hosting Villa Clara.  Here are a few news items from the “off season”:

CHANGE IN LOCATION FOR SERIE DEL CARIBE 2018 – The host location for the upcoming Caribbean Series had been announced as Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela.  However, due to the ongoing social and political unrest in Venezuela, the Caribbean Confederation voted on June 14 to move the Series to Mexico.  The Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (LMP) then promptly voted to host Serie del Caribe 2018 in Guadalajara, Jaliso.

The location for the upcoming Series will be Estadio Charros in Zapopan, Jalisco State, a suburb of Guadalajara.  This is the same stadium that hosted second-round play in the World Baseball Classic 2017, and is the home field of the Charros de Jalisco club of the LMP.

OPENING WINTER LEAGUE DATES:

SN 57 Cuba August 5
LVBP Venezuela October 10
LMP Mexico October 10
LiDOM Dominicana October 13
LBPRC Puerto Rico November 9

INTER-LEAGUE CONTROVERSY IN MEXICO – the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), the Mexican summer league, has announced plans to operate a split-season in 2018 that will extend that league’s schedule into November.  This will overlap with the beginning of the winter league schedule of the LMP, as well as cause conflicts among those players that currently play in both the LMB and LMP.

More to come on this hot topic.

BasebALZ enjoys Alzheimer’s Night at Dell Diamond

Thirteen participants, volunteers and family members attended Alzheimer’s Night at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond on Monday evening July 31.  As often happens when we venture to Dell Diamond, the game went extra innings with the hometown Express taking a walk-off 7-6 win in the bottom of the 11th on a two-out, two RBI double by 3B Will Middlebrooks.

In addition to the exciting game, many of us enjoyed the “$1 hot dogs and sodas” promotion on Harry Potter Night at the ballpark.  Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

BasebALZ Season 6 Wrap-up

Season Six of the BasebALZ program wrapped up on July 10 at the Alzheimer’s Texas offices in Austin.  This “season” marked over two years that the Rogers Hornsby Chapter of SABR has been offering this program for those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

We opened the season on May 8 with a record attendance of 13 participants and caregivers, plus nine volunteers:

Over the course of the six bi-weekly sessions, we presented and discussed topics targeted to the interests and memories of our participants.  These included:

Recalling if anyone once used a slide-rule:

Talked about the world’s most valuable baseball card:

Sang some polkas:

Played “Stump the Experts”, where one of our participants presented a short bio of a ballplayer to see if our volunteers could determine who it was.  This became a regular feature of each meeting:

Talked about a trip to “The Field of Dreams” in Iowa:

We recognized our program leader, Jim Kenton, with the presentation of an honorary “Doctor of Baseball Reminiscence” diploma:

Chapter member Dan Walsh wrapped up the closing session with a vote for the “All Star Team of the 1960s”:

A good time was had by all:

After a short summer break, Austin-based BasebALZ will start up again in September.  In the meantime, our volunteers continue to make a monthly visit to the Veteran’s Administration in Kerrville to present BasebALZ there.

More information on the BasebALZ program is here.

 

BasebALZ Season 6 Sets Attendance Mark on Opening Day

Our baseball-themed Alzheimer’s reminiscence program, BasebALZ, opened “Season Six” on Monday May 8 at the Alzheimer’s Texas offices in Austin.  We had thirteen participants, caregivers and guests in attendance, and we’re expecting more as this “season” progresses.  Nine volunteers from the SABR-Hornsby Chapter and Alzheimer’s Texas were there to deliver and support the program:

BasebALZ leader Jim Kenton opens the session.

In a discussion of “Things from 1960 that we don’t use anymore”, we see if anyone can remember how to use a slide rule …

Season Six of BasebALZ will run through July.  For more information on the BasebALZ program, click here.

 

BasebALZ wraps up successful 5th season

Our chapter’s Alzheimer’s reminiscence program — BasebALZ — wrapped up a fun and successful fifth season with an outing to Dell Diamond on Monday, April 11.

The completion of Season Five (which ran from January through April) marks two years that the Hornsby SABR chapter has been delivering the baseball-themed Alzheimer’s program in Austin.  Eleven participants and caregivers enjoyed talkin’ baseball, music, TV … and yes, in Texas, even some football.

Besides presentations and discussion, we had some activities such as oiling up some ball gloves …

… autographing some baseballs …

… playing “stump the experts”, where our participants try to stump the SABR volunteers on baseball history …

… and deciding who was going to “pick first” or “bat first” in a simulated game.

Plans are already underway for Season Six, to begin in May, 2017 at the Alzheimer’s Texas offices in Austin.

In addition to the program in Austin, SABR volunteers are delivering the program at the Kerrville Veteran’s Administration hospital on a monthly basis.  Program leader Jim Kenton is also working with the Alzheimer’s Association, the U.S. Army at Ft. Sam Houston, and the VA in San Antonio to start programs in the Alamo City.

For more information on BasebALZ, visit our informational page here.

 

March Lunch Meeting Wrap-up

Twelve Hornsby chapter members and guests met for lunch on Saturday, March 18 at the Third Base restaurant at US183 and Anderson Mill Road.

Topics of discussion included the World Baseball Classic and performance of the remaining teams – Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico and the pending USA-Dominican Republic elimination game.  Of special interest was the “international extra-inning” rule that attempts to shorten games by placing runners on first and second with no outs, beginning in the eleventh inning.  Spring Training was another hot topic, with chapter members discussing the performance – so far – of their favorite teams.

Jan Larson provided the quiz, a review of general baseball history and records.  The results were hotly-contested and Jim Baker walked away with the valuable prize – a Mark Saccomanno Corpus Christi Hooks bobble-head.

The April chapter meeting is TBD, but April 22 appears to be a likely date.  More information will be forthcoming.

BasebALZ Completes Season 4 and Season 5 Gets Underway

Season Four of the Alzheimer’s Talking Baseball program, held at Westminster Senior Living in Central Austin, ran from September 12 to November 14, 2016.  Eleven participants and caregivers were in attendance.  The program continues to be a success for all involved.

Dr. Michael Ego, a fellow SABR member and Professor of Human Development & Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, visited during Season Four to observe the program, conduct interviews, and worked with us to create an informational video about the BasebALZ program.  The video (about 10 minutes) is here.

Season Five got underway on January 23 at the Alzheimer’s Texas offices in northwest Austin.  We had 100% return of our previous season’s participants and caregivers.  Everyone involved had a great time at the “season opener”.

SABR volunteers getting ready for the Season Five home opener at Alzheimer’s Texas

The Season Five announcement and schedule are here:

Basebalz Spring 2017 flyer

Serie del Caribe 2017

sdelc-logo-2017estadio-tomateros

por Ing. Monte Allan Cely J.

diablo y angel

Your author with the two Juan Antonios, and with Mexican fanaticos Jhonny and Martín.

PUERTO RICO WINS SERIE DEL CARIBE 2017

Puerto Rico defeated Mexico 1-0 in ten innings to win their first Caribbean Series crown since the 1999-2000 Winter Season.  Yadiel Rivera doubled to lead off the top of the tenth, was sacrificed to third, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Morales.

Mexico was held to only four hits by the Criollos pitching staff.

Puerto Rican third baseman David Vidal was voted MVP of Serie del Caribe 2017.

REFLECTIONS ON SERIE DEL CARIBE 2017

This was my seventh Serie del Caribe and I feel that it was the best one yet.  Estadio Tomateros is a major-league quality facility, but with only half the capacity.  You are close to the action but have all the amenities of an MLB stadium.  The city of Culiacán, Club Tomateros, and the LMP rolled out the red carpet for the fans.  The stadium was filled to capacity every evening that the home team played.  Attendance at capacity was usually reported as 19,177 tickets sold, but the total figure from the pressbox was in excess of 24,000.

I felt that the level of competition was very equal across the five clubs, with the possible exception of Dominicana.  Cuba fielded a strong club and I was told that their roster would closely resemble the national team that will play next month in the World Baseball Classic.  Mexico and Venezuela were strong as usual.  And of course the Puerto Rican club got hot late in the tournament and took the crown.

A big muchas gracias to my good friend Juan Antonio Jasso (with me in picture below) and his wife Carmen for hosting me before and after Serie del Caribe.  They were very gracious to put me up at their beautiful home in Concordia, Sinaloa and take me back and forth to the Mazatlan airport, as well as to and from Culiacán.  Their kindness greatly added to my enjoyment.

¡ Adios ! from Culiacán.  Thanks for reading !

POSTSCRIPT – WHAT’S NEXT ? — Here are a few rumors and other topics that I read or heard while in Mexico:  Serie del Caribe 2018 is scheduled for Barquisimeto, Venezuela.  Should the political and social concerns in Venezuela not settle down somewhat, there was much discussion as to where the upcoming Serie del Caribe might be relocated.  The most common alternative, should it be needed, is to return to Mexico.  The best bets among LMP venues are either Ciudad Obregón (new stadium) or Guadalajara (large city, lots of accommodations for incoming fans).

There was also talk about when Cuba might be expected to take its turn in hosting a Serie del Caribe.  The Cubans would have to first rejoin the Caribbean Baseball Confederation, as they have been participating as an invited guest since 2014.  That will supposedly happen in 2018.  So the current thinking is that the Cubans will host no earlier than 2020.

Another topic concerns what other countries may enter (or re-enter) the Caribbean Baseball Confederation and send a representative to a future Serie del Caribe.  Newspaper articles in Culiacán speculated that Panama may re-enter the competition in the next few years.

¡ Vamos a ver !  We shall see!

DAY SIX February 6, 2017

Puerto Rico and Mexico advance to the finals of Serie del Caribe 2017 !

Puerto Rico defeated Venezuela 9-6 in Game One today to qualify for tomorrow´s final.  The Puerto Rican club will be looking for their first Serie del Caribe title since 2000.  The home team from Mexico will provide the opposition as they defeated Cuba 1-0.  Mexico will strive to win their fifth title in the past seven series.

Puerto Rico 9 – Venezuela 6 — Puerto Rico´s offense continued to fire on all cylinders as they jumped to a 8-0 lead and held on for the win.  Six Puerto Rican starters had at least one RBI, with David Vidal slugging his third homer of the series.  Venezuela tallied 16 hits and 4 walks but could not overcome the early Criollos outburst.

Mexico 1 – Cuba 0 — in a rematch of last night´s game, Mexico was able to prevail on the strength of starter Miguel Pena´s five innings and shutout relief from the bullpen.  The Mexican pitching staff allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks.  Cuban starter Lazaro Blanco allowed only one run in 7 innings, but took the tough loss.

DAY FIVE February 5, 2017

Venezuela 4 – Dominicana 3 — Rene Reyes homered with Ronnie Cedeño aboard in the bottom of the 8th to give Venezuela a come-from-behind victory over Dominicana.  For the second consecutive year the Dominican team was swept in the Serie del Carie round-robin.

Cuba 4 – Mexico 0 — Alfredo Despaigne broke out of a slump with the 3-run homer to power the Cuban squad past defending champions Mexico.  The home team could not solve Cuban starter Vladimir Banos, who pitched 8.2 innings for the win.

This concludes the round-robin phase of Serie del Caribe 2017.  The standings are:

Team W L Qual?
Cuba 3 1 Y
Mexico 3 1 Y
Venezuela 3 1 Y
Puerto Rico 1 3 Y
Dominicana 0 4 N

The Cuban team was awarded first place in the round-robin due to tie-breaker rules.

The semi-finals will pit Cuba vs. Puerto Rico and Mexico vs. Venezuela.

Both semi-finals will be played February 6, with the finals slated for February 7.  Stand by …

DAY FOUR February 4, 2017

Pre-game, we took a field trip to the Sinaloa Baseball Museum and Academy.

This facility is a state-of-the-art interactive baseball museum and also a baseball development academy.  My understanding is that it was built with funding by the state of Sinaloa and MLB serves in an advisory capacity.  The museum was impressive.  I was able to walk out among the ball fields, however the coaches were not interested in seeing me take a few swings …

 

Puerto Rico 10 – Dominicana 2 — the Dominican club is eliminated, for the second straight year, and Criollos de Caguas advance to the semi-finals.  Rusney Castillo led the PR attack with a homer and three RBIs.  Ivan de Jesús, Jr. added two RBI and scored three times.  Eight Licey pitchers could not stop the Puerto Rican offensive outburst.

Venezuela 8 – Cuba 3 — Venezuela mounted a 15-hit attack, led by Freddy Galvis and Ronnie Cedeno with three each.  Cuban starter Freddy Alvarez was lifted with only one out in the first inning after Venezuela jumped out to a 3-0 lead.  Cuban 2B Carlos Benitez tied the game in the second with a 3-run homer.  However, Venezuela continued to chip away at the Cuban bullpen and took advantage of two Cuba errors to post the win.  Wil Ledezma was the winner in relief for Zulia.

DAY THREE February 3, 2017

Today was the induction ceremony for the Caribbean Series Hall of Fame.

The inductees, from left to right, are:

Vinnie Castilla, Erubiel Durazo, Miguel Flores, Benjamin Reyes (accepted posthumously by his son), Alfonso Araujo Bojórquez, and Juan Manuel Ley (accepted posthumously by his son)

 

 

 

Cuba 6 – Puerto Rico 1 — Cuban pitching was sharp again, with starter Vladimir Garcia going six innings for the win and the Cuban bullpen again held their opponents scoreless.  William Saavedra´s 2-run homer in the 7th sealed the win for Cuba.  The Cuban squad continued to look strong on both offense and defense.

Mexico 5 – Venezuela 1 — This game was Águilas contra Águilas – Eagles vs. Eagles.  Sebastián Valle´s walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth won the game for Méxicali.  Barry Enright started for Mexico and pitched 5 strong innings allowing only one run.  The Mexican bullpen wrapped up with four scoreless innings and Oliver Perez got the win.

With these results, the standings for todos-contra-todos – the round robin phase – after three days of play are:

Team Won Loss
Mexico 3 0
Cuba 2 0
Venezuela 1 1
Puerto Rico 0 2
Dominicana 0 2

DAY TWO February 2, 2017

We were joined at breakfast by Eduardo Almada, a fellow SABR member and well-known broadcaster and columnist.  Eddie is also the son of Baldomero “Melo” Almada, the first Mexican-born pelotero to play in the U.S. major leagues.  We had a far-ranging discussion with Eddie on baseball topics both north- and south-of-the-border.

We had a late lunch at the stadium club at Estadio Tomateros:

Venezuela 4 – Puerto Rico 3 — Venezuelan catcher Jesus Flores´ 2-run homer in the top of the second put Zulia ahead to stay.  David Vidal homered for Caguas in the 8th to make it close at 4-3, but that was how the final score stood.

Mexico 7 – Dominicana 2 — Jason Bourgeois 2 RBI triple put Mexicali ahead in the fifth inning and CJ Retherford´s 3-run homer in the top of the seventh broke the game open.  Chris Roberson was 4-5 with two runs scored.  Starter Hector Velazquez pitched five innings for the win and the bullpen shut down Licey the rest of the way.  The game was another sellout with attendance over 19,000.

After the first two days of play, the round-robin phase standings are:

Team Won Loss
Mexico 2 0
Venezuela 1 0
Cuba 1 0
Puerto Rico 0 2
Dominicana 0 2

DAY ONE February 1, 2017

Cuba 4 – Dominicana 0 — Cuban leadoff hitter Roel Santos tripled and scored on a passed ball in the top of the first.  That was all the offense Cuba needed as they posted a shutout in the Series opener.  Granma starter Lazaro Blanco threw 6.1 innings and was relieved by Liran Moinelo who got all of the final eight outs.

Mexico 4 – Puerto Rico 2 — Mexicali stalwart Chris Roberson broke a 1-1 tie with a two run homer in the bottom of the seventh.  Yunieski Betancourt added a homer in the 8th to give Mexico an insurance run.  Mexican starter Daniel Rodriguez and three relievers allowed only five Criollos hits.

Opening Ceremonies — we were treated to a fantastic light show and Dodgers rookie pitcher Julio Urias threw out the ceremonial first pitch.  Attendance was announced at 19,177.

Your author and fellow SABR member Lewis Rubman doing some sight-seeing in downtown Culiacan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 31, 2017

I´ve arrived in Culiacan, Sinaloa and the city is hopping with anticipation of the start of Serie del Caribe.  On the TV news this morning, they are reporting that all hotels in the Culiacan metro area are lleno (sold out).

I will report further tomorrow or as there is any breaking news.

Stay tuned …

January 29, 2017

THE FINAL FIELD IS SET FOR SERIE DEL CARIBE 2017:

The five champions of the participating winter leagues have been determined, as follows:

Águilas de Méxicali wins its fourth LMP title.  The Eagles represent the Baja California city of Mexicali.  Their home park is Estadio B-Air.

 

Tigres del Licey is one of the most-storied of Dominican clubs.  The 2016-17 LiDOM title is their 22nd.  Their home field is Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal in the capital city of Santo Domingo.

Criollos de Caguas is a historic Puerto Rican team and this year’s title is the 17th in their history.  They play at Parque Yldefonso Sola’ Morales in the central Puerto Rican city of Caguas.

Águilas del Zulia won its sixth Venezuelan title and appear in Serie del Caribe for the first time in 17 years.  They play in Estadio Luis Aparacio in Maracaibo.

Alazanes de Granma won its first Serie Nacional title.  The Sorrel Colts play in Bayamo, the seat of Granma province.

Serie del Caribe 2017 will get underway Wednesday, February 1 in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, the capital city of the state of Sinaloa.  The tournament will run through February 7 (see the game schedule, below).  The site will be the one-year-old Estadio Tomateros (also known by its naming-rights as Estadio BBVA Bancomer).  The stadium has a capacity of 20,000 with dimensions of 322′ down both foul lines and 410′ in straight-away center field.

The winter league winners from Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Cuba will again compete for the title of “The Caribbean World Series”.  The system of competition will be the same as in the past few years:

Phase 1 – A five-team, four-game round robin after which the bottom team will be eliminated.

Phase 2 – Two semi-final games pitting the #1 vs. #4 finishers and the #2 vs. #3 finishers from Phase 1.

Final – A single-game finale between the two semi-final winners.

The schedule for Serie del Caribe 2017 is as follows (note that Culiacán observes U.S. Mountain time during winter months):sdelc-schedule-2017

Every year I make my travel arrangements with Travesias Mundiales, a travel agency in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.  The owner, Thelma Acosta, and her team always do a great job with the logistics and make my travel easy and enjoyable.  Their web site is here.

Thelma (red jacket) and her team at Travesias Mundiales in Hermosillo.

WINTER LEAGUE PLAYOFFS 2017

January 28, 2017

MEXICO – Méxicali clinched the LMP crown with a 13-1 victory at Los Mochis.  Águilas took the series 4 games to 2.  This is the fourth league championship for the Eagles and their first since the 1998-99 season.

 

DOMINICANA – the LiDOM final series went all the way to a ninth and final game.  Emilio Bonifacio’s three-RBI double in the decisive top of the 6th inning powered Tigres del Licey to the win over Águilas Cibaeñas 6-2.  This is Licey’s 22nd Dominican league title.

 

January 25, 2017

PUERTO RICO – Caguas defeated Santurce 6-5 in 12 innings before a standing-room-only home crowd of 11,200 at Parque Yldefonso Sola Morales.  Los Criollos thereby clinch the Puerto Rican winter crown, 5 games to 3, and advance to La Serie del Caribe 2017.

 

VENEZUELA – Águilas del Zulia clinched the Venezuelan title with a 5-2 win at home over Cardenales de Lara.  Zulia prevailed four games to one in the finals.  Over 19,800 fans were in attendance at Estadio Luis Aparicio in Maracaibo to see their club take their first Venezuelan title in 17 years.

 

In MEXICO, Los Mochis and Méxicali are tied 2-2 in their best-of-seven final series.  In the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Licey leads Águilas 4-2 in their best-of-nine finals.   Both series continue their action tonight.

January 23, 2017

CUBA – Granma swept by Ciego de Ávila four games to none and clinched its first-ever Serie Nacional championship.  Los Alazanes dispatched the defending SN champions in the finals after sending home the regular-season champion Matanzas club in the semi-finals.  This is the first corona for Granma in its 40 seasons competing in Serie Nacional.

If, like me, the name “Granma” sounds familiar, it is not only the name of the Cuban province where the club plays, but also the name of the yacht that brought Castro and his revolutionaries back to Cuba from Mexico in 1956.  El yate is featured in the team logo.  Furthermore, it is the name of the official party newspaper published in Havana.

Granma now advances to la Serie del Caribe and awaits the determination of the other four league champions.

PUERTO RICO – Caguas leads Santurce 4-3 in the best-of-nine finals.

DOMINICANA – Licey and Águilas are tied 2-2 in the best-of-nine finale.

VENEZUELA – Zulia leads Lara 2-0 in the best-of-seven finals.

MEXICO – Los Mochis and Méxicali are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven finale.

January 20, 2017 – both Mexican Pacific League semi-finals went down to a deciding seventh game last night:

Méxicali prevailed over Hermosillo 4-3 in 16 innings at Estadio B-Air in Baja California.

Los Mochis defeated Culiacán 3-1 to join Méxicali in the LMP finals.  Los Cañeros will have the home-field advantage and will host the opening game of the best-of-seven finale in Los Mochis on Saturday, January 21.

The other four Winter League final series situations are:

CUBA – Granma leads Ciego de Ávila 2 games – none in their best-of-seven series.

DOMINICANA – Águilas lead Licey 1-0 in their best-of-nine series.

VENEZUELA – Lara and Zulia open the final series tonight.

PUERTO RICO – Santurce leads Caguas 3 games to 2 in their best-of-nine.  Fellow SABR member Angel Colon sends these action photos:

John Brownell (Criollos) and Adalberto Flores (Cangrejeros) on the mound

Update as of January 18, 2017 – two more semi-final series have been completed:

DOMINICANA – the LiDOM round-robin phase wrapped up last night with the final standings at:

Team W L GB
Águilas 14 4 -5.0
Licey 9 9
Gigantes 8 10 1
Escogido 5 13 4

Águilas were in command of the todos-contra-todos from the beginning, opening up a comfortable lead and clinching a spot in the finals with several games to play.  Licey and Gigantes battled to the final game for the second ticket to the finals, with Licey prevailing by one game.

Águilas will have the home-field advantage in the best-of-nine final series and will host Licey at Estadio Cibao on Thursday January 19th.

VENEZUELA – Cardenales de Lara and Águilas de Zulia both prevailed in the semi-final rounds by dispatching their opponents 4 games to 1.  The seven-game final series will open on Friday January 20 with regular-season champs Cardenales opening at home in Barquisimeto hosting Zulia.

January 16, 2017

CUBA – after compiling a 70-win season and leading in the standings the entire way, los Cocodrilos de Matanzas were upset in a seven game semi-final series by Granma.  The “Chestnut Colts” now advance to the finals to play defending Serie Nacional champs Ciego de Ávila.  The SN56 finals begin Wednesday, January 18.

Here’s the latest in the Latin American Winter Leagues playoffs as of January 12, 2017

PUERTO RICO – the first round (semi-finals) of the LBPRC finished on Wednesday January 11.  Regular-season winner Santurce advances to the finals by defeating Carolina 4 games to 1.  Regular-season runner-up Mayaguez was upset by Caguas 4-2.

The LBPRC finals therefore will feature los Cangrejeros de Santurce holding the home-field advantage over Criollos de Caguas in the 9-game final series beginning Saturday, January 14.

Fellow SABR member Angel Colon sent these action photos from San Juan:

LBPRC batting champion Danny Ortiz (Mayagüez) (top left), ERA leader Adalberto Flores (Santurce) (top right), “Dice – K” in action with Carolina (bottom)

VENEZUELA – first round (quarter-finals) play also concluded Wednesday January 11 in the LVBP.  Results are:

Cardenales de Lara prevailed over Margarita, 4 games to 3.

Águilas de Zulia swept Tigres de Aragua 4-0.

Caribes de Anzoátegui prevailed over Tiburones de La Guaira 4-3.

In the LVBP, the wild card is determined by a one-game play-in pitting the two losing first-round teams with the best regular-season records.  This resulted in a loser-goes-home game between La Guaira and Aragua.  This game was held Wednesday night, January 11 in Maracay.  The Sharks won 4-2 and also advance to the semi-finals.

The LVBP semi-finals begin January 12 with Lara hosting La Guaira in Barquisimeto and with Caribes hosting Zulia in Puerto la Cruz.

MEXICO – first round action wrapped up in the LMP on Monday January 9.  The first round series concluded as follows:

Los Mochis defeated Mazatlan four games to one.

Mexicali defeated Navojoa four games to two.

Hermosillo prevailed over Culiacán four games to three.  Over 19,000 fans witnessed game seven at Estadio Tomateros, the site of the upcoming Serie del Caribe.  Both clubs advance to the semi-finals as los Tomateros qualify as the comodín (wild card) with the best record among the first-round losing teams.

The LMP semi-finals will commence on January 11, with the pairings as follows:

Los Mochis will host Culiacán and will have the home-field advantage in the 2-3-2 best-of-seven series format.

Likewise, Mexicali will host Hermosillo and have the home-field advantage.

DOMINICANA – the LiDOM first-round, round robin play continues with the standings at:

Team W L GB
Águilas 10 2 -4.0
Licey 5 7 1.0
Escogido 5 8 1.5
Gigantes 4 7 1.5

After the 18-game round-robin is completed, the top two teams will advance to the Dominican finals.

CUBA – in the Serie Nacional semi-finals, defending champs Ciego de Ávila defeated Villa Clara 4 games to 2 and advance to the SN finals.  Regular-season leaders Matanzas currently lead Granma 3-2.

SERIE DEL CARIBE SALON DE FAMA – this year’s inductees will be players Vinny Castilla, Erubiel Durazo and Miguel Flores; executive Juan Manuel Ley; manager Benjamin Cananea-Reyes, and sportswriter Alfonso Araujo Bojórquez.  My good friend Juan Antonio Jasso advises that the induction ceremonies will be Friday February 3 in Culiacán.

WINTER REGULAR SEASON 2016-2017 – final regular season results as of January 1, 2017

MEXICO – the final standings for the second-half of the winter season are:

When the PTS earned are added to the first-half results, the resulting final positions are as follows:

According to the playoff rules for qualification in Mexico, the bottom two teams – Yaquis de Óbregon and Charros de Jalisco – are eliminated.  The remaining six teams will play best-of-seven series beginning on January 2 with the pairings as indicated above:  Mayos de Navajoa will host Águilas de Méxicali;   Cañeros de Los Mochis will host Venados de Mazatlán; and Tomateros de Culiacán will host Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

DOMINICANA – the regular season was a close-run affair from opening day to the close of the season.  The finals standings were:

Team Wins Losses GB Qualified?
Gigantes del Cibao 27 23 yes
Tigres del Licey 26 24 1 yes
Águilas Cibaeñas 25 25 2 yes
Leones del Escogido 25 25 2 yes
Toros del Este 25 26 3 no
Estrellas Orientales 23 27 4 no

The top four teams advance to a todos-contra-todos ronda (round-robin phase), where each club will play the other three qualifiers six times (18 games per team).   The top two clubs emerging from the round-robin will play each other in a final series to determine who will advance to La Serie del Caribe 2017.

CUBA – the final standings for the six teams participating in the second phase of Serie Nacional 56 are:

Team W L GB Qual?
Matanzas 70 20 yes
Ciego de Ávila 56 34 14 yes
Villa Clara 52 38 18 yes
Granma 50 40 20 yes
Holguín 43 47 27 no
Camagüey 39 51 31 no

Los Cocodrilos de Matanzas led the Serie Nacional throughout the first- and second-halves, finishing the season on a 9-game winning streak.  The Crocodiles set a SN 90-game season record with 70 victories.  The semi-final pairings will commence on January 4 and have the Crocodiles hosting Granma, and defending champions Ciego de Ávila hosting Villa Clara.

VENEZUELA – the final LVBP standings were:

Team W L GB Qual?
Lara 39 24 yes
Caribes 34 29 5 yes
Zulia 33 30 6 yes
Margarita 30 33 9 yes
La Guaira 30 33 9 yes
Aragua 30 33 9 yes
Magallanes 29 34 10 no
Caracas 27 36 12 no

The bottom five clubs in the LVBP battled to the final games to determine who would nail down the last three playoff spots.  Traditional power-houses and long-time rivals Magallanes and Caracas were left out of the January action.  For the first round of the playoffs, Lara will host Margarita, Caribes will host La Guaira, and Zulia will host Aragua in best-of-seven series.

PUERTO RICO – fellow SABR member Lewis Rubman advises that Daisuke Matsuzaka is trying to rejuvenate the gyro-ball in Puerto Rican winter league play.  Pitching for Gigantes de Carolina, Dice-K compiled a 2.70 ERA in 20 IP, with an opponents’ BA of only .197.  Perhaps a return to MLB?

The final standings from the enchanted island were:

Team W L GB Qual?
Santurce 28 12 yes
Mayagüez 26 14 2 yes
Caguas 19 21 9 yes
Carolina 16 24 12 yes
Aguadilla 11 29 17 no

The Cangrejeros and Indios were on top of the standings at 1-2 for most of the season.  Santurce will host Carolina and Mayagüez will host Caguas in semi-final action beginning on January 3.

WINTER REGULAR SEASON 2016-2017 — as of December 11, 2016

PANAMA – fellow SABR member Kit Crissey advises that his friend Bill Hockenbury passed away recently at age 92.  Hockenbury logged nine seasons in the U.S. minor leagues and played with the Carta Vieja Yankees in the Panama Winter League in the 1950s.  He pitched in la Serie del Caribe for the Yankees in 1954 and defeated Almendares 5-1, allowing just two hits.

PUERTO RICO – SABR member Angel Colon shared some pictures of this winter season’s action in the LBPRC.

 

Clockwise from upper left – Corey Black pitching for Santurce; game action Indios at Tiburones; Phil Evans batting for Caguas; Kasuma Okamoto and Ozzie Martinez in the field for Carolina.

Team Wins Losses GB
Santurce 20 8
Mayagüez 17 10 2.5
Caguas 13 14 6.5
Carolina 12 18 9
Aguadilla 7 19 12

With about three weeks to play in the regular season, Santurce has widened its hold on first place.  The top four teams will advance to the January play-offs.

Royals prospect Emmanuel Rivera leads the league in hitting at .386.

MEXICO – LMP league standings for la segunda vuelta are:

Team Wins Losses GB
Mayos (Navajoa) 11 6
Venados (Mazatlan) 11 6
Águilas (Mexicali) 10 7 1
Cañeros (Los Mochis) 9 8 2
Naranjeros (Hermosillo) 9 8 2
Yaquis (Cd. de Obregón) 7 10 4
Charros (Jalisco) 6 11 5
Tomateros (Culiacán) 5 12 6

First-half winners Tomateros are now in the basement during second-half play.  The points earned in the first half will be added to the points earned by the second-half finish to determine the top six teams to advance to post-season play in January.

Former Dodgers farmhand Javier Solano leads LMP pitchers with 7 wins.

CUBA – Serie Nacional 56 play resumed December 4 after the mourning period for Fidel Castro.  With about 20 games left, the remaining six clubs are positioned as follows:

Team Wins Losses GB
Matanzas 55 16
Ciego de Ávila 48 22 6.5
Villa Clara 41 28 13
Granma 41 29 13.5
Holguín 33 37 21.5
Camagüey 32 38 22.5

The top four teams will advance to post-season play in January.  Matanzas has already qualified for the semi-finals due to their outstanding first-half record.

DOMINICANA – the current LIDOM standings are:

Team Wins Losses GB
Gigantes del Cibao 22 16
Tigres del Licey 21 18 1.5
Águilas Cibaeñas 20 20 3
Estrellas Orientales 20 20 3
Leones del Escogido 17 21 5
Toros del Este 17 22 5.5

The regular season race remains close among the Dominican clubs.  With the top four teams qualifying for the post-season, all the teams are still in the playoff hunt.

Ronnie Rodriguez leads the league with a .336 average.  Rodriguez played this past summer for the Cleveland Indians’ AAA affiliate in Columbus.

VENEZUELA – the top six clubs in the final regular season standings will advance to the in-country postseason playoffs.  The current situation is:

Team Wins Losses GB
Cardenales 30 22
Águilas 28 23 1.5
Caribes 27 25 3
Tiburones 25 24 3.5
Bravos 26 25 3.5
Tigres 22 26 6
Leones 21 27 7
Navegantes 21 28 7.5

With about three weeks to play, the two most iconic of the Venezuelan franchises – Leones de Caracas and Navegantes de Magallanes – are in danger of missing the post-season.

 

WINTER REGULAR SEASON 2016-17 — as of November 27, 2016

MEXICO – the first half of the LMP “split season” finished on November 20.  The complete first-half standings are as follows:

standing-primera-vuelta

The points (“PTS” column) assigned for the first-half finish will be added to the corresponding points earned for the second half to determine qualification for and seeding in the LMP post-season.

PUERTO RICO – the current standings in the LBPRC are as follows:

Team Wins Losses
Santurce 12 5
Caguas 11 6
Mayagüez 10 7
Carolina 9 12
Aguadilla 3 15

The poor showing on the field for the new Aguadilla Tiburones franchise has led to financial difficulties as well.  The club failed to make payroll earlier in November.  The situation was rectified over the next few days and management is hopeful this was a one-time occurence.

CUBA – the second phase of Serie Nacional 56 play has been suspended due to the death of Fidel Castro.  Play will resume on December 4 as the six qualifying teams play for positions in the post-season.  Current standings (which are cumulative of phase one play) are as follows:

Team Wins Losses
Matanzas  51  14
Ciego de Ávila  43  21
Granma  39  25
Villa Clara  38  26
Camagüey  31  33
Holguín  31  34

VENEZUELA – only two games separate the top four teams in the LVBP standings, and the top seven clubs are only 5 1/2 games apart:

Team Wins Losses
Zulia 24 17
Lara 23 18
La Guaira 21 18
Margarita 22 19
Anzoátegui 19 21
Magallanes 18 21
Aragua 17 21
Caracas 15 24

MLB journeyman Jose Castillo and Cardinals farmhand Breyvic Valera lead the LVBP in batting with .382 marks.

DOMINICANA – likewise, no one is running away from the field in the LiDOM.  The standings are:

Team Wins Losses
Gigantes 15 10
Escogido 15 12
Licey 14 13
Aguilas 14 16
Estrellas 12 15
Toros 13 17

Texas Rangers farmhand Hanser Alberto is leading the league in batting at .385.

 

OFF-SEASON/PRE-SEASON (Summer/early Fall) ITEMS OF NOTE

PUERTO RICO – la Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (LBPRC) is expanding to five teams for the 2016-17 winter season.  A franchise from Puerto Rico’s baseball past, Tiburones de Aguadilla, has been added to the mix for the winter league.  The Sharks last competed in Puerto Rico’s top league in the 1950-51 season.

MÉXICO – la Liga Mexicana del Pacífico (LMP) continues its building program with the debut of Nuevo Estadio Yaquis in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora.  This new ballpark (opened October, 2016) joins other new or substantially rebuilt stadiums in Méxicali (to host 2009 Serie del Caribe), Hermosillo (to host 2013 Serie del Caribe) and Culiacán (2015).

To celebrate the opening of the new stadium in Cd. Obregón, the LMP is re-instituting a mid-season all-star game to be held there on Nov. 27.

pena-beisbolera-20august

Gracias to mi buen amigo Juan Antonio Jasso Rodriguez for his contribution to this post.  Juan Antonio (seated, right) is pictured hosting his radio show Peña Beisbolera in Hermosillo.

VENEZUELA – undeterred by political and economic challenges, la Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) announced that they intend to host the 2018 Serie del Caribe at Barquisimeto, home city of the Cardenales de Lara.

CUBA – sports authorities made further changes to the system of competition for Serie Nacional 56 (SN56).  In order to better align the ending of their season to the start of la Serie del Caribe (and eventually MLB spring training), and to improve the overall level of competition, the following changes were announced:

A First Phase of their schedule will be played from early August to late October.  All 16 teams in the top league will participate in this 45-game primera etapa.

A Second Phase of the schedule will commence November 1 and include only six clubs for the remainder of the season.  The top four finishers from Phase I will advance, as well as two clubs from positions 5-8 as determined by play-in games.  The six advancing clubs can be reinforced by players selected from the eliminated ten teams.  The Phase I won/loss records also carry over into the second phase.  Phase II will complete in late December.

Playoff Rounds will be held in January and will conclude in time for the SN56 champion to participate in Serie del Caribe 2017.

WINTER REGULAR SEASON 2016-17

— as of November 8, 2016 —

CUBA SN56 – as mentioned above, the current SN56 season began on August 7.  Of the 16 teams participating in Phase I, the following six advanced to Phase II play, which began on November 1:

Matanzas, Ciego de Ávila, Granma, Villa Clara, Holguín, and Camagüey.  The Matanzas Crocodiles have been playing outstanding ball, and currently are 46-5 with a 12.5 game lead over second place Ciego de Ávila.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – play began in la Liga Dominicana (LIDOM) on October 20.  Through the first 14 games, Gigantes del Cibao are in first place at 10-4.

VENEZUELA – LVBP play began on October 6. Águilas de Zulia (Maracaibo) have the early lead at 17-8.

White Sox fans in the U.S. should note that Ozzie Guillén is managing the La Guaira club this season.

MÉXICO – the LMP season began on October 11.  The LMP plays a split-season and la primera etapa has been very tight, with four clubs (Hermosillo, Méxicali, Navajoa, and Los Mochis) tied atop the standings at 13-10.

PUERTO RICO – play began for the LBPRC on October 27.  Mayagüez and Santurce are tied for the early lead at 6-2.

 

I will report periodically via this blog as to developments and results of the 2016-17 winter seasons, and then en vivo desde Culiacán.

Saludos,  Monte

 

July Chapter Meeting Wrap-up

by Monte Cely

Seven members met at Ryan Pollack’s house on Sunday afternoon, July 31, for the 116th consecutive monthly meeting of the Rogers Hornsby SABR Chapter.  The main topic of discussion centered around trade activity as the non-waiver deadline approaches.  We also discussed how changes in the game over the last few decades have affected our enjoyment of viewing a ball game.  Ichiro Suzuki’s nearing 3000 MLB hits was also a topic of note, although we were disappointed that he has not gotten more ABs this weekend.

IMG_1397

Plans for the August meeting are currently TBD.  Watch this space for further news.