Baseball & Rodeos

70… I say baseball, you say beisbol and it’s three strikes and you are out…

Baseball in the streets of Barrio Barranca, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Arroyos-roads will do for makeshift baseball fields.

Baseball is not Mexico’s national pastime, and it is no longer the USA’s, but it is popular, particularly in the northern states. Beisbol was introduced to Mexico in 1847 by American soldiers during the Mexican War. Americans overseeing railroad construction also encouraged Mexican workers laying track to play beisbol. On July 4th, 1889 work stopped on the Monterrey-Tampico railway in Nuevo Leon to celebrate the holiday as Colonel Joseph Robertson and his workers played baseball. Organized beisbol started in 1925.

Dugouts at the ball park, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The sweet smell of neatly groomed dirt, batter up.

It would not be surprising to think that there are kids who dream of playing professional baseball as they take to the field at the Alamos ball park halfway between the Plaza and the airport. The Mexican Pacific League is the premier Mexican winter league. 27% of its 445 players come from Sinaloa and 20% come from Sonora. Teams close to Alamos include the Yaquis de Obregon, Mayos de Navajoa, Caneros de los Mochis – the Sugarcane Pickers and Naranjeros de Hermosillo – the Orange Pickers. Fernando Valenzuela, who took Los Angeles by storm as a successful pitcher for the Dodgers, Fernandomania, was born in Etchohuaquilla a small town near Navojoa. One of the allures of baseball is so much of the game takes place in the mind as one waits for the action to come. Baseball is a game from dreamers.

baseball park in Alamos, Sonoroa, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Build it at the foot of Sierra de Alamos and they will come.

The warrior that is always looking up at the western sky atop Sierra de Alamos can hear the roar of fans when a run scores in a big game for the home team. The photo on the left was taken in the spring, the photo on the right was taken in the summer. This is a ball park with a wonderful view. Sierra de Alamos is a magnificent hitter’s background.

Summer rodeo at the ball park, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

They play more than baseball at the old ball park, root root for the cowboys.

The rodeo had come to town. The event had fallen behind schedule and the crowd grew uneasy waiting for the show to begin, and they waited and milled as summer clouds came and went. And when it started it was hard to tell it had started. Unorganized is a polite term to describe the promoters. The posters around town publicized this event as a rodeo – music concert. The headline singer, who was backed up by a local band that provided the sound system and stage, also was late arriving. More clouds came and went. More drinking. More huddling. After the rodeo finished the cowboys stood in a line to thankfully pray that no one had been seriously hurt. And then it was time for music and dancing horses. For more on the band visit Journal entry 33.

A summer rodeo – music concert with trained horses dancing the two step.
Throughout the summer there are activities to enjoy in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. On this day the rodeo came to town along with a Mexican pop singer who was backed up by the local “Halcon de Sierra Alamos” band. The stars of the show were the dancing horses.

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