In Tijuana there is only one goal when talking about the Mexican Baseball League (LMB): to consolidate its champion lineage and become the team to beat in the 2022 season. To achieve that lineage, the Toros entered a circle of success: they build a reputation as a solid, serious and convinced team, and that, in turn, has allowed them to attract figures from the Major Leagues in search of more titles.
The most recent star who has been enamored by the image of the Tijuana Bulls is Javy Guerra (Denton, Texas; October 31, 1985), a right-handed pitcher who comes with an 11-year resume forged in the Major Leagues among the Dodgers, White Sox, Angels, Marlins, Blue Jays and Nationals, with whom he won the World Series in 2019. You already know what it is to be a champion and that is why your expectations when you arrive in Mexico are just as high.
“If I came to Mexico it is because I think that the expectation has to be to win the championship. In my opinion, if we are going to play, it is going to be to win and knowing the players from around here, who have played in the Major Leagues together, I know that the team is going to win and with that it is the most important thing”, he states bluntly in an interview with The Economist.
A year ago the Tijuana Bulls They stood out in the offseason by confirming the signing of Dominican Fernando Rodney, who played 18 years in the Major Leagues and was also a World Series champion with the Nationals in 2019. A year later, his former teammate in Washington, Texan Javy, joined War, showing that the LMB It begins to have more reflectors among baseball players with an important career.
“Mexican baseball is going to do well, maybe soon they will create more teams to have more players and people will like it. The quality of their baseball is rising every year, more people come, the stadiums get better and there is more interest in coming and continuing to play. There are many Mexicans in the Major Leagues now, so there is interest in Mexico there (…) I don’t know how to say (where Mexican baseball is at the continental level), but I know that it is now in a very good place because they are bringing games from the Major Leagues here for people to know, with a little help and time it will get much better very quickly.
Jay War He played 272 games in the Major Leagues since he was taken by the Dodgers in the 2004 Draft from Billy Ryan High School in his native Denton, always playing relief. His ERA in that span was 3.98 and he had 33 saves. The Major Leagues consider him one of the 17 Mexicans who have won a World Series ring, because although he was born in Texas, his parents are natives of Coahuila and he has even been invited to represent Mexican teams.
Now 36 years old, Luis Javier Guerra assures that he arrives at a stage of greater personal stability and to fall in love with baseball again. It is not his first experience in Mexico because in the 2016-2017 season he pitched in 13 games for the Tomateros de Culiacán in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), however, it will be his debut in the LMBwhere other former major leaguers such as Rodney himself, Christian Adames, Bruce Rondón or Josh Reddick compete.
“In my opinion, love for the game is recovered in Mexico, there is a lot of love here, people come, cheer you on a lot and give you a different perspective that many lose after playing so many years in the Major Leagues. I have a better spirit and love for the game after coming here and seeing the boys giving it hard, that is something we can all learn (…) Now I am a little more humble, I have two children, I am married and I have understood that the most Family is important in life. The club is my second family, it has changed my focus, what I think is important and what is not, but I know that if I am here it is to win”.
The Bulls of Tijuana They seek to be the first two-time LMB champion team since the Saraperos de Saltillo achieved it between 2009 and 2010. With a roster full of figures such as Guerra, Rodney and the return of players such as Ricky Álvarez, Isaac Rodríguez and Manny Barreda, all directed by manager Homar Rojas, who was part of the coaching staff in the 2021 championship, the fronterizos will seek to reach their fourth Serie del Rey in the last six years.
_ Being the current champions, do you accept your label as favorites to repeat the LMB title in 2022?
“If that is what people think of the team, it is good, because it means that people know that there is a lot of talent and if we continue like this, giving it every day, I think we are going to be where we want to be and where we are going to want to be when the season is over (…) I live well at this time, I come here with the same mentality of reaching the Major Leagues or Minor Leagues, I will always give it 100% and I also came to win. I don’t think about that (retirement), but the game will tell you when it’s time, I’m going to give it a go until the last moment, physically I feel good, that’s why I wanted to come”, says Javy Guerra.
- Place of birth: Denton, Texas
- Age: 36
- Position: Pitcher (reliever)
- Arm: Right
- Years in Major Leagues: 11
- Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, and Washington Nationals
- Titles: 2019 World Series (Nationals)
- Major League record: 272 games, 33 saves, 245 strikeouts, 1.41 WHIP