The Baseball world series It has been accompanied by mariachis since 1954, when Roberto Ávila from Veracruz became the first Mexican to reach this stage with the Cleveland Indians. 67 years have passed and the list of national players has grown to 18 to reach Jose Urquidy, the native of Mazatlán who disputes the championship with the Houston Astros against the Atlanta Braves in fall 2021.
Although Urquidy He had already participated in the 2019 World Series that the Astros lost to Washington Nationals, his presence ratifies Mexico’s most prodigious decade in the championship instance, since between 2011 and 2021 there are seven ambassadors present, surpassing the four of the decade from the 80s and five from the decade of 2000 to 2010.
Many of the players in the United States know of the reputation that the Mexican player has both in this and in other sports: we are hungry, courageous and eager to compete and win. We already had that reputation, I was told by players who were before me in MLB, because although we may not have that great strength or physique, we do have that heart that wins championships and that in a team it is important to have; that is the energy that characterizes us Mexicans in the World Series ”, he describes The Economist, Fernando Salas, 2011 Major League Baseball champion with the St. Louis Cardinals and current Naranjeros de Hermosillo player.
In total, Mexicans have been present in 17 World Series and they have been champions in 13 of them (76%), the 1981 edition being the only one in which there has been a direct confrontation, when Fernando Valenzuela and the Dodgers beat Aurelio Rodriguez and the Yankees. There was a gap in the 90s but in the new century there are already 12 finals with national players.
“Mexicans, although they do not make it to the World Series compared to other Latin American players, when they do, they always play a leading role and especially in recent times, particularly speaking of the last decade. I would like that at a certain moment there were more position players than pitchers, but historically Mexico has always had good arms that are definitive in this phase ”, analyzes Gabriel Medina, sports director of the Mexican Baseball League (LMB).
The six finalists of the last decade are Sergio Romo, three-time champion with San Francisco Giants (2010, 2012 and 2014); Jaime Garcia and Fernando Salas, champions with Cardinals in 2011; Julio Urías and Victor Gonzalez, champions with Dodgers in 2020 (Urías also lost the 2018 World Series with Los Angeles); in addition to Roberto Osuna and Jose Urquidy with the 2018 and 2021 Astros (Osuna is no longer part of the current roster).
The pitching position is one in which Mexicans have historically excelled, a virtue that is increasingly seen by Major League Baseball clubs through technological advances that are even based on the biotype of the national player.
“Now baseball is much more scientific, there are fewer leaps of faith, most of the things that happen on the field have an objective evaluation both in the performance and in the projection of the players. Several Mexican players had this transition from when they were scouted almost with a clinical eye and a radar gun, and they are currently state-of-the-art radars that measure departure angles, throwing spin rate, location and a much more precise speed measurement. (…) I have also heard many versions, even from doctors, who say that the composition of the Mexican usually has a lot of strength in the arm and shoulder ”, adds the sports director of the LMB.
These technological advances are already present in national baseball with the aim of pushing more players to the Major Leagues, reveals Gabriel Medina. According to their figures, currently 50% of the LMB clubs have the most modern technology and methodology, similar to that of the United States, although “100% already have a genuine concern about becoming more professional in this regard, in make baseball much more scientific. “
The manager also indicates that this technological development of Mexican baseball has occurred for five years in the most avant-garde teams and for one in which they are just starting. With this context, he considers that there may be more players in the definitive phases of the MLB soon, although he also clarifies that this does not depend only on the player’s talent, but on external conditions such as reaching a competitive team.
However, Mexico continues to have lower representations in the MLB compared to countries such as the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Cuba. That is why for Guillermo Celis, a baseball specialist for the ESPN network, the Mexican player has earned a reputation for quality but not for quantity, and Mexican clubs are responsible for this.
“For me the last decade is disappointing. Mexican teams need to stop charging major league organizations for taking their players. They have every right to collect, but they cannot ask for what they ask for a player who is just starting out, because they want millions. It is not a new problem, we have been talking about it for more than 10 years and nothing is done or solved ”.
For his part, the champion with the Cardinals, Fernando Salas, points out that the current situation of the player in Mexico offers him greater diffusion and opportunities to excel: “Now many academies have been opened in the Mexican leagues both in winter and in summer that are making an effort to get more boys out, which was limited before. From what little I heard, one had to arrive and demonstrate their level both in a Mexican league and in the US, now even the government of Mexico has implemented new schools to promote baseball more, there are even scholarships that facilitate the way to be professionals and, why not, Major League Baseball players ”.
The current player for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo also explains to this newspaper that winning a World Series did not improve his economic and salary conditions in the Major Leagues. He admits that “it is something that should have an influence because many statistics are taken into account there”, although what left him the most was personal satisfaction.
“I proved to myself that I could be part of a winning team and that is what stays with you for life. I felt a lot of emotion, adrenaline, I wanted to be part of the moment, not the hero but to bring energy. Like all Mexicans, we are always hungry to excel and sometimes life makes us strong to face difficult situations such as gambling, it does not compare with life but this is an incentive. Mexican players give everything because you never know when you can be in another World Series, “concludes Salas.