For all the Tucson baseball lovers that are enjoying the first season of the Tucson Padres, more baseball is coming into the Old Pueblo this Fall!
The Tucson Padres, The Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Sonoran Sports Commission are bringing the Vamos a Tucson Mexican Baseball Fiesta to Tucson for the first time this Fall.
Three teams from the Pacific Coast League of Mexico (Liga Mexicana del Pacifico) and a Tucson team (yet to be decided) will play in a tournament at Kino Stadium Oct. 7-9.
The Winter League of Mexico plays from October to February, with the champion of the league moving on to the Carribean Series. The league hosts several Major League prospects each year and is immensely popular in Mexico.
The Hermosillo Naranjeros, the Obregon Yaquis and the Aguilas de Mexicali will all be participating in the tournament this October along with a yet-to-be announced Tucson team.
At a press conference held Thursday at Kino Stadium, Mike Feder, General Manager of the Tucson Padres was present, along with Juan Aguirre, Naranjeros General Manager, Rene Rodriguez, Yaquis President and Francisco Gamez from the Sports Commission of Sonora (Comision de Deporte en el Estado Sonora) to sign the official contract to kick off the negotiations of the Vamos a Tucson Tournament.
Felipe Garcia, Vice President of Community Affairs for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau said that the purpose of the exhibition series is to draw people from outside Tucson from Nogales, and other surrounding border communities.
“It is easier for Mexican baseball fans to travel to Tucson than it is for them to travel to Obregon or Hermosillo,” Garcia said.
Garcia said he believes that Tucson’s relationship with Sonora, Mexico is important because of all the dollars they bring into the city, and the game is another way to attract people to the Old Pueblo.
The idea for the series sprung about two months ago when Francisco Gamez from the Sports Commission of Sonora, approached Feder with the idea.
“I could not say yes fast enough.” Feder said. “This is like another audition to show the Mexican league that we can pull this off.”
The Tucson Padres will assume 100 percent of the responsibility for the series, Feder said, including paying for lodging, food and transportation for all the teams.
The series will also bring youth teams into the mix along with food and other activities.
“This is not just baseball,” Feder said, “it’s a fiesta.”
Garcia and Feder hope the series will bring new dollars to Tucson and expand the baseball fan base.
Obregon Yaquis President, Rene Arturo Rodriguez said he is excited to bring his team to Tucson. The Yaquis are the current Pacific League champions and he hopes to bring their spirit to Tucson.
“Mexican baseball fans are so much louder than American baseball fans,” Rodriguez said. “We want to show Tucson how to cheer.”
Tucson Padres shortstop Evereth Cabrera also plays for the Yaquis Winter League team among other Major League players.
Feder said the San Diego Padres fully support the idea and will be bringing their Hispanic Marketing Department in on the festivities.
Ticket prices and other details have yet to be ironed out, but will be announced as soon as logistics are figured out, Feder said.
The Tucson Padres fan base has proven to be over 40 percent Hispanic so far this season and he hopes to see it continuously grow.
“We are doing this to show support to the Sonoran Baseball League, but if it makes us some new Hispanic friends for the Tucson Padres, than that would just be a bonus.”